Operators of unlicensed child care centers warned 12.17.08

Written by David Green.

State and city law both prohibit unlicensed day care centers and Morenci residential zoning administrator Jack Baird has heard reports of several in the city.

Baird sent notices to those that he is aware of and he wants other care-givers to be aware of potential problems.

This does not refer to occasional baby-sitting, Baird said, but rather to the regular care of children not related to the caregiver, in which monetary compensation is given for the service.

A city ordinance prohibits the operation of a child care center in a single-family residential area without a review and approval by the planning commission.

Michigan law states “it is illegal in the State of Michigan to care for unrelated children in your home without being licensed or registered by the Department of Human Services.”

Licensing includes an inspection of facilities, health and criminal clearance of employees, attendance at an orientation session and continuing education. The state also charges a licensing fee.

Baird said he is obligated to follow up on complaints that come to his attention. If he has doubts about the answers he receives, the matter is turned over to the state. The city cannot condone an unlicensed child care business, he said.

Baird said that operators of an unlicensed  child care service can run into trouble in at least two ways. If the service is provided and the customer doesn’t pay, the provider doesn’t have much standing in court if it’s an unlicensed operation.

In addition, if a child is injured while being cared for, the provider could be held liable. If the child is uninsured, the cost could be excessive, Baird said.

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