Camp Licensing Overview

Camp licensing, regulation and inspection is a cooperative venture involving the public, camp directors and the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and Bureau of Community and Health Systems. The goal is safe, healthy and worthwhile camping experiences for all campers.

What is a Camp? 
In Michigan, a licensed children's camp is defined in Act No. 116 of the Public Acts of 1973, as amended. A children's camp is five or more children, away from their parents, relatives or legal guardians, for five or more days within a 14-day period in a natural environment.

A licensed adult foster care camp is defined in Act No. 218 of the Public Acts of 1979, as amended. An adult foster care facility with the approved capacity to receive more than four adults who shall be provided foster care. An adult foster care camp is a facility located in a natural or rural environment.

Who licenses Camps? 
The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs is the licensing agency for camps. The Bureau of Community and Health Systems inspects and licenses camp programs for compliance with the requirements contained in the administrative rules for camps. Camps are licensed for an original 6 month license and renewed to a two year license. Onsite inspections are completed annually..

Types of licenses 
There are three types of licenses: original, regular, and provisional.

  • Once a new camp demonstrates the ability to comply with licensing requirements, an original license is issued for 6 months.
  • After an onsite inspection during the first period of operation, a regular 2 year license is issued if the camp is in substantial compliance with licensing requirements.
  • A provisional license is issued when a camp is temporarily unable to conform to licensing requirements.

What is required to become licensed?
Four areas are addressed to determine if a license can be issued.

  • Operator Clearances ...involve a criminal history check through the Law Enforcement Information Network and a protective services check through the use of the State's Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry. These checks are used to assess the good moral character and suitability of those who interact with campers.
  • General Provision Evaluation ...involves an assessment of camp staff requirements, health services, food service, camp activities, policies and procedures, records and facilities. An onsite inspection occurs annually.
  • Fire Safety Evaluation ...assures compliance with essential fire safety requirements. Fire safety inspections are privately contracted by the camp. Inspections occur at least once every two years.

The decision to issue a license is based on a review of information contained on the camp license application, licensing record clearances, an evaluation of compliance with the camp licensing rules, and the onsite inspection.

Taking Action
When a camp is not in substantial compliance with the rules, a provisional license may be granted until the camp is able to correct its noncompliance. If a camp is unable to correct licensing violations, a camp license may be revoked. A camp can lose its license.