Healthy People in a Healthy Environment

Family Day Care Homes and Child Care Centers


Family Day Care means “the care given to a child under the age of 13 years or to any developmentally disabled person under the age of 21 years, in place of parental care for less than 24-hours a day, in a residence other than the child’s residence, for which the day care provider is paid.” (COMAR 07.04.01)        

Child Care Center means “an agency, institution, or establishment that, for part or all of a day, or on a 24-hour basis on a regular schedule and at least twice a week, offers or provides child care to children who do not have the same parentage except as otherwise provided for in law or regulation.” In the context of the child care center regulations, a child is an individual under the age of 16 years. (COMAR 07.04.02)        

Inspections of family day care homes and child care centers by the Health Department are limited to surveys of the well and/or septic system. Homes and facilities that utilize public water and sewerage systems do not require a Health Department inspection. The Maryland State Department of Education Division of Early Childhood Development Office of Child Care notifies the Health Department when a survey is needed at a facility. Surveys are conducted every two years at family day care homes and yearly at child care centers.  Information on the maintenance of your well and septic system will be provided during the on-site inspection.        

The Resource Protection Division will make a visual inspection of the well and water supply system and will make recommendations for the upgrade of these systems if necessary; however, it is the responsibility of the operator to collect bacteriological and nitrate water samples. These water samples must be obtained through a Maryland certified laboratory and collected no earlier than thirty (30) days prior to making application. Laboratory results must be sent to the Health Department with the application.        

The Resource Protection Division will conduct an on-site visual inspection of the septic area to determine if the system is functioning properly. Septic systems must be inspected and pumped at least every four (4) years by a liquid waste hauler.     

After the Health Department has conducted the on-site survey and has received the water test results, the Maryland State Department of Education will be notified as to the status of the facility and the Health Department’s position regarding licensure.