The purpose of this Alert is to highlight areas where the Division of Licensing has seen injury or harm to children and to offer suggestions on prevention. The suggestions do not replace rule and statute requirements. Please review this information and take precautions, including improving current procedures, orientation, and training.
Implementing these suggestions does not mitigate the license holder’s responsibility to ensure compliance with licensing rules and statutes. If an incident occurs, failure to address the topics in this Alert may contribute to findings of maltreatment under the Reporting of Maltreatment of Minors Act (Minnesota Statutes, section 626.556). Findings of maltreatment at a center may result in the disqualification of one or more individuals and fines against the license holder.
DHS is preparing to implement the enhanced background studies that will impact all licensed child care programs starting this fall. This also impacts all certified licensed-exempt centers. (Non-licensed providers participating in the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) are also impacted by these changes.) These new enhanced background studies are required by changes in federal law. For more information on the new study requirements, go to Minnesota child care provider background studies.
The federal Office of Child Care has informed states that they are able to use certain child care block grant funds to help providers pay for the new enhanced background studies.
Accordingly, DHS will pay for the cost of the new background studies for existing providers and their staff/family members who already have a current background study when the new enhanced studies are rolled out. (Non-licensed providers participating in CCAP will also have their costs covered and will receive a separate letter from DHS.)
To comply with federal requirements, Minnesota will gather data from licensed child care centers regarding serious injuries and deaths.
Beginning immediately, centers must use the fillable form Child Care Center Serious Injury and Death Reporting Form (PDF) (also in Word) to report any serious injury or death of a child in care.
The PDF version is the preferred version for centers to use since it will automatically create an email and attach the completed form once the submit button is clicked. If you need to use the Word DOC version, you will have to manually attach the completed form to the email before sending.
A serious injury is an injury that requires treatment by a physician or dentist. This means that if a child sees a physician or dentist for evaluation of an injury, but no treatment is given, the injury does not meet the definition of serious and does not need to be reported to DHS. Treatment does not include application of or recommendation to use nonprescription medication or diagnostic testing.
For additional information on other child care center reporting requirements, please see Minnesota Rules, part 9503.0130. The new Child Care Center Serious Injury & Death Reporting Form is to be used for reporting serious injuries and deaths only. Other types of information required to be reported to DHS under 9503.0130 can be done by submitting a center-specific form by email or fax, by calling the center’s assigned licensor or by calling the main Licensing Division number at 651-431-6500.
Child care centers can now subscribe to receive important information, including legislative changes, by email. The information will be periodically sent from DHS Licensing. Do not reply to emails sent to you, as they will not be read or forwarded for handling. Your email address is used only to deliver the information you requested.
The 2018 Legislature changed several laws that impact licensed child care centers, including licensing requirements and background study requirements. Many of the changes clarify licensing requirements or make it easier for providers to comply with requirements.
There are also new resources available about the changes to background studies, including:
Questions: If you have questions about how to comply with a new requirement after reading the guidance document, please contact your licensor.
All teachers and assistant teachers in a child care center and at least one staff person during field trips and when transporting children in care, must complete pediatric first aid training within the first 90 days of the start of work unless the training has been completed within the previous two years, rather than every three years.
Pediatric first aid training must be repeated every two years, rather than every three years.
To comply, providers must:
Legal authority: Minn. Stat.245A.40, Subd. 3
Teachers and assistant teachers in a child care center and at least one staff person during field trips and when transporting children in care, must complete CPR training within the first 90 days of the start of work unless the training has been completed within the previous two years.
CPR training must be repeated every two years, rather than every three years.
To comply, providers must:
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 234A.40, Subd. 4
Before admitting a child for care, the center must obtain documentation of any known allergy from the child's parent or legal guardian or the child's source of medical care. If a child has a known allergy, the center must maintain current information about the allergy in the child's record and develop an individual child care program plan as specified in Minnesota Rules, part 9503.0065, subpart 3.
To comply, providers must:
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245A.41, subd. 1
In addition to current requirements for first aid and safety policies and diapering procedures, centers must meet requirements for handling and disposing of potentially infectious bodily fluids, such as blood and vomit.
To comply, providers must:
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245A.41, Subd. 2
For the most up-to-date information on the upcoming changes to background studies for child care centers, please visit https://mn.gov/dhs/general-public/background-studies/faqs/ccdbg/.
Orientation training requirements were amended to include new health and safety requirements, including allergy prevention and response, handling and disposal of bodily fluids, and emergency preparedness. Orientation training must include existing health and safety requirements under Minnesota Rules, part 9503.0140 and emergency and accident requirements under Minnesota Rules, part 9503.0110. Orientation training must be documented in each staff person’s personnel record. The Licensed Child Care Center Orientation Checklist (PDF) may be used for this purpose.
In addition, orientation training on health and safety requirements and handling emergencies and accidents must be repeated at least once each calendar year. Completion of the annual training must be documented in each staff person’s personnel record.
To comply, providers must:
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245A.40
Directors and all staff hired, must complete and document at least two hours of child development and learning training within the first 90 days of employment. (Previously this training was known as child growth and development and was required within the first year of employment.) This training should include how children develop physically, cognitively, emotionally, socially and learn as part of the children’s family, culture and community. Training completed under this subdivision may be used to meet the in-service training requirements under Minn. Stat. 245A.40 subdivision 7.
To comply, providers must:
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245A.40, Subd. 2
In-service training requirements now align with Minnesota’s Knowledge and Competency Framework for Early Childhood Professionals. Statute requires a center director and all staff persons who have direct contact with a child to complete annual in-service training. In-service training requirements must be met by a staff person's participation in the following training areas as defined in statute:
To comply, providers must:
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 234A.40, Subd. 7
Centers must have an emergency preparedness plan for emergencies that require evacuation, sheltering, and other protection of children. The plan must be written on a Child Care Emergency Plan PDF or Word DOC form developed by the commissioner and updated at least annually. Keeping Kids Safe DHS-7414 (PDF) includes detailed emergency planning resources available on the DHS Licensing webpage for licensed child care centers.
To comply, centers must:
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245A.41, Subd. 3
DHS Licensing will begin conducting unannounced inspections of licensed child care centers on an annual basis. This will be rolled out in phases as we build our workforce to carry out these responsibilities. We are excited about this change for many reasons. Conducting annual inspections will allow us to provide more one-on-one technical assistance, answer questions, and assist you in better understanding the licensing standards.
When you receive a Notice of Reinspection (NOR), follow the instructions and return it to your licensor. You will continue to receive a NOR in the months prior to your inspection.
DHS Licensing currently issues amended correction orders when one or more violations on a correction order are rescinded as a result of the licensed center’s request for reconsideration from DHS. This practice is now required by state law. DHS will continue to distribute the reconsideration decision and amended correction order, when applicable, to the licensed center.
When an amended correction order is issued, post the amended correction order (instead of the original correction order) in a conspicuous place in the center for two years from the date you receive the amended correction order. If all violations in a correction order are reversed or rescinded, you can remove the original correction order from being posted in the center.
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245A.06, subd. 8
The department is now required to post the results of child care licensing inspections on Licensing Information Lookup and also to report the aggregate number of deaths, serious injuries, and instances of substantiated maltreatment that occurred in licensed child care settings each year. In addition, the department is required to develop guidelines for posting public licensing information in consultation with family child care providers, child care centers, and county licensing agencies.
Beginning January 1, 2018, licensors are required to issue a fix-it ticket, for certain violations identified by the Commissioner that do not imminently endanger the health, safety, or rights of children.
A fix-it ticket will be issued for each eligible violation if you did not receive a fix-it ticket or correction order for the same violation at your last annual licensing inspection. The fix-it ticket provides an opportunity for the center to correct eligible violations and avoid receiving a correction order for these violations if they are corrected within the allotted timeframe.
Upon receipt of a fix-it ticket, you may:
The fix-it ticket does not have its own appeal rights. If you disagree with a fix-it ticket violation, you can choose to not respond to the fix-it ticket within the allotted time and the licensor will issue a correction order for the violation. Upon receipt of a correction order, you will have the right to request reconsideration.
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245A.065
Licensors are required to offer an exit interview at the end of the licensing inspection. An exit interview is an opportunity for you to discuss the licensing inspection with your licensor. The typical exit interview includes a discussion of:
The goal is to have open communication and transparency about licensing requirements in order to achieve ongoing compliance.
While the most effective way to conduct an exit interview is onsite at the conclusion of the inspection, you can decline the opportunity to have an in-person exit interview. If, for any reason, you are not able to have the exit interview at that time, your licensor will schedule an exit interview by phone. There may also be times when your licensor is unable to conduct the exit interview onsite, such as due to an ongoing, open investigation. When an exit interview cannot occur onsite, your licensor will schedule an exit interview by phone as soon as is reasonably possible.
Please note, while it is preferable that all areas of non-compliance or concerns are discussed prior to issuing a fix-it ticket or correction order, DHS is not precluded from including violations in a correction order or negative action that were not discussed in an exit interview or in the event that a license holder chooses not to participate in an exit interview.
You should participate in the exit interview to learn what the licensor found during the inspection and to ask for clarification if you are unclear about the requirements. While you are not required to participate in an exit interview, it is a valuable opportunity for you and your licensor to engage in a collaborative discussion to assist you in complying with licensing requirements.
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245A.04, subd. 4
Centers must allow an enrolled child’s parent or legal guardian access to their child at any time while the child is in care. This is in addition to the requirement to allow parents or legal guardians of enrolled children to visit the center any time during the hours of operation as specified in Minnesota Rules, part 9503.0095.
To comply, centers must:
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245A. 14, subd. 15
The department now has authority to issue a fine of $5000 when “serious maltreatment” is determined for which the license holder is found responsible under section 626.556. If the maltreatment for which the license holder is responsible meets the definition of serious maltreatment as defined by Minnesota Statutes, section 245C.02, then the license holder shall forfeit a fine of $5,000.
Licensors may only issue a correction order when there is a violation of law or rule that is not eligible for a fix-it ticket. There is no expectation that a licensor must find a violation at every inspection visit, or that a licensor must issue a certain number of correction orders in any determined period of time.
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245A.06, subd. 9
Pre-licensing inspections are completed as part of the licensing process. DHS will initiate requests with the city’s zoning administrator, along with building, fire, and health inspections prior to a visit from your licensor prior to opening your program.
All owners and staff persons must have a DHS background study completed prior to working with children in a licensed child care center. The background studies are completed is a part of the application process and for each new staff person before they have contact with children.
Each licensed child care center is required to have a health consultant to review all of the center’s health policies and practices. A health consultant means a physician, public health nurse, or registered nurse.
A license is valid for each calendar year (Jan. 1 - Dec.31).
|225 or more||$1,100|
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245A.10
In order to make a change to your license, you will need to reach out to your licensor and request a Change in License Information Form. You will submit your requested change to your licensor using that form. Depending on the nature of the change, there may be additional action required from you or your licensor prior to approving the change. For example, your licensor may need verifying documentation from you, there may be inspections needed, and/or your licensor may need to make a visit to your site.
A change in the license holder requires a new application. Licenses are not transferrable.
A change to the authorized agent requires a notarized signature form and a cleared background study for the authorized agent.
A change to the program location requires zoning, building, fire, and health inspections, various supporting paperwork such as equipment and staffing forms, and a visit to the site for approval prior to approving the change.
The following rules and statutes guide licensing activities:
A variance may be granted by the commissioner for Rules that do not affect the health or safety of persons in a licensed program if certain conditions are met. You can submit a variance request to your licensor using the Variance Request DHS-3141 (PDF).
An example of a variance that could be granted: a staff person who has met the education requirement for teacher qualification, but is lacking hours of experience that are required, to be teacher qualified for a specific period of time while the staff person works in the program to gain the hours of experience needed to meet the requirement.
Conditions under which variances can be granted in 245A, (245A.04, subdivision 9)
In an effort to respond to child care center workforce shortages around the state and to recognize quality, non-credit based professional development training that does not meet current Rule 3 staff qualification requirements, DHS will consider additional variances for staff qualification requirements. When reviewing a variance request, DHS will consider the staff person’s experience and level of professional development, including the steps completed on the Minnesota Career Lattice.
Providers can request a variance for staff qualification requirements for staff who have completed quality, non-credit based professional development training that is not currently recognized for qualification purposes in Rule 3. DHS Licensing worked with DHS Child Development Services staff to create a list of approved training organizations that reflects training organizations approved by Achieve, the Minnesota Center for Professional Development. The list of DHS Licensing approved training organizations for staff qualification variances is here.
As before, you can submit a variance request for an individual who is working toward meeting one of the options in Rule 3 for qualification as a director, teacher, or assistant teacher. Those types of variance requests will still be considered.
In addition, you can now request a variance for an individual who has completed non-credit based professional development from any of the training organizations identified in the list of approved training organizations. When reviewing these types of variance requests, DHS will consider the individual’s experience and level of professional development. As part of the variance, the individual will be required to complete a number of hours of training from the approved list each calendar year. This training will also count toward the individual’s annual in-service training hours.
When requesting one of these variances, you need to submit the following to your licensor:
A license holder must maintain and store records in a manner that will allow for review by the commissioner. The following records must be maintained as specified and in accordance with applicable state or federal law, regulation, or rule:
(1) Service recipient records, including verification of service delivery, must be maintained for a minimum of five years follow discharge or termination of service;
(2) Personnel records must be maintained for a minimum of five years following termination of employment; and
(3) Program administration and financial records must be maintained for a minimum of five years from the date the program closes.
A license holder who ceases to provide services must maintain all records related to the licensed program for five years from the date the program closes. The license holder must notify when the commissioner of the location where the licensing records will be stored and the name of the person responsible for maintaining the stored records.
If the ownership of a licensed program or service changes, the transferor, unless otherwise provided by law or written agreement with the transferee, is responsible for maintaining, preserving, and making available to the commissioner on demand the license records generated before the date of the transfer.
In the event of a contested case, the license holder must retain records as required in paragraph (a) or until the final agency decision is issued and the conclusion of any related appeal, whichever period is longer.
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245A.041, subdivision 3
Centers must have policies that include:
Licensed centers must comply with the reporting requirements for abuse and neglect specified in Minnesota Statutes, section 626.556 (Reporting of Maltreatment of Minors). A person mandated to report physical or sexual child abuse or neglect occurring within a licensed center must report the information to DHS. See Maltreatment of minors mandated reporting policy for information on who is mandated to report, where to report, what to report and failure to report.
Licensed centers must also inform the commissioner within:
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245H.11
The capacity on your license refers to the number of children you are licensed to serve. Your capacity is determined by multiple factors including your city zoning requirements, fire and building code requirements, the size of the physical space used to provide child care in your facility and your ability to meet equipment requirements. For further information:
If a volunteer is not directly supervised at all times, they would need a background study and orientation training.
If a volunteer is in an infant classroom, the volunteer would need to have sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) training.
If a volunteer is counted in the staff-to-child ratio, the volunteer must meet the qualifications for the position in which he/she is filling. For example, if a volunteer is filling in for a teacher or assistant teacher, you must have a file for the volunteer with a personnel information form and transcripts that show the person is qualified as a teacher or assistant teacher.
For further information:
There is a difference between annual and yearly requirements. Annual means prior to or within the same month of the subsequent calendar year. Yearly means at least once every calendar year. Examples include: Sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) and abusive head trauma (AHT) trainings are required at least once every year. Risk reduction training is required annually. Therefore, if a staff person is hired and has SUID, AHT, and risk reduction training in March of 2016, the staff person would need SUID and AHT training again sometime in the 2017 calendar year (before December 31st of 2017). However, the staff person would need risk reduction training by March 31st of 2017.
Main phone: 651-431-6500 Fax: 651-431-7673
To report possible licensing violations, contact the child care center licensor on call at 651-431-6500. A licensor on call answers phones Monday-Friday (excluding holidays) from 8 AM to 4:30 PM.
Background Studies Division: 651-431-6620
Mailing address: Minnesota Department of Human Services, Licensing Division, P.O. Box 64242, St. Paul, MN 55164-0242