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FAQs - Child Care Centers

Can a parent volunteer be counted in ratio? 

Ratio is determined by considering caregiver to child numbers. A caregiver is a person 18 years of age or older who provides direct care, education, supervision and guidance of children. If the parent meets these criteria, he or she may be counted in the ratio. 

However, the parent volunteer may not have unsupervised contact with in care if:

1. He or she has been convicted of a listed offense (listed in the Sex Offenders Registration Act, 1994 PA 295) child abuse or neglect, or a felony involving harm or threatened harm to an individual within the 10 years immediately preceding the date of offering to volunteer at the child care center.

2. He or she has not provided the child care center with documentation from the Department of Human Services that he or she has not been named in a central registry case as the perpetrator of child abuse or neglect. 

Additionally, if the parent volunteers for at least four hours per week, for more than two consecutive weeks, the parent volunteer must provide evidence that he/she is free from communicable tuberculosis. 

What courses are acceptable for administration training? 

"Child care administration" means child care administration, education administration or business administration. The center must provide written documentation to the department verifying college credit or CEUs for an administration course. 

What CEUs are acceptable? 

"CEU" means a continuing education unit awarded by a state board of education or an accredited college/university sponsor of continuing education units. Written documentation of completed CEUs are required, if applicable. 

As of May 18, 2012, State Board CEUs (SB-CEUs) became State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECHs).

  • SB-CEUs were calculated by dividing the total number of contact/ instructional hours by the number 10. An eight-hour session was eligible to receive 0.8 SB-CEU.
  • SCECHs are the total number of contact/instructional hours in a program. An eight-hour session is now eligible to receive 8 SCECHs.

What do I need to do if I want to change use space, the ages on my license, or my capacity? 

A Request for Modification of the Terms of the License - BCAL-5054 must be submitted to your licensing consultant. (Note: When a school-age only program located in a school requests to change use space, the Change of Use Space Request for School-Age Programs Located in Schools (BCAL-4342) form must be used.) The BCAL-5054 and BCAL-4342 can be found on the licensing website A fire safety inspection, environmental health inspection, and lead hazard risk assessment may be required in certain circumstances (discuss this with your licensing consultant). Once your licensing consultant receives the request, he/she may conduct an on-site inspection to approve the changes. After the on-site inspection, the licensing consultant will confirm the changes through written documentation. 

What do I need to do if I want to add a kindergarten program to the components my center offers? 

Contact the Michigan Department of Education at 517-373-0796. For more information, go to 

Do I have to have an environmental health inspection? 

Environmental health inspections are required:

1. For all proposed child care centers.
2. At renewal if licensed for food service. A center provides food service when food is prepared and served on-site.
3. At renewal if the center has a private well or septic.
4. When food service is added.
5. When an infant/toddler program is added.
6. When a concern or complaint of an environmental health nature beyond the expertise of the licensing consultant exists. 

I am doing some remodeling. Do I have to submit my plans to my licensing consultant? 

  • New construction. 
  • Renovation. 
  • Remodeling. 
  • Addition to building. 

Architectural plan reviews will be provided by BFS at no cost to the applicant or licensee. The applicant or licensee must submit a set of construction plans, along with the Application for Child Care Plan Review (BFS-13) directly to BFS. The BFS-13 and additional information can be obtained from the  BFS website. If the total cost of the project is $15,000 or more, the plans must be prepared and sealed by a registered architect or engineer. Appropriate BFS - Child Care Section staff will review these plans, and a plan review letter will be returned to the submitter. 

Note: Changing interior finishes (e.g., new ceiling tiles, wall finishes, etc.), door hardware, door swing, or door installations would not require a plan review; however, a qualified fire inspector (QFI) must complete an on-site inspection of the changes. Exception: Replacing an item with the same product would not require an on-site inspection by a QFI (e.g., replacing a bro­ken ceiling tile with the exact same type of ceiling tile or replacing a door knob with the exact same type of door knob).

An environmental health plan review is also required when new construction, renovation or structural modification of the kitchen, bathroom or food preparation or food storage area is planned.

How often do I need a fire safety inspection in my center? 

A fire safety inspection conducted by a qualified fire inspector is required before issuance of the original license and every four years thereafter at renewal. 

Playground Inspections 

Do I have to have a playground inspection? How often is a playground inspection needed? 

Prior to issuance of an original license or when adding new equipment, compliance with rule 400.8170(11) must be verified by at least one of the following:

  • A written statement or certificate from the equipment manufacturer and installer stating that the equipment was manufactured and installed in compliance with the CPSC's 2010 Edition of the Handbook for Public Playground Safety. Note: The installer must be a CPSI and does not have to be on the list of CPSIs approved by the department.
  • An inspection report, including the Playground Inspection Certification Summary (BCAL-5047), from a CPSI (on the list of CPSIs approved by the department) documenting compliance with the CPSC's 2010 Edition of the Handbook for Public Playground Safety. Note: All equipment present on the playground must be documented on the BCAL-5047, even if not inspected.
  • A written statement from the licensee that the equipment will not be used if verification of compliance with the CPSC's 2010 Edition of the Handbook for Public Playground Safety cannot be obtained.

Renewal inspections are not required. See the technical assistance for this rule for more information on the list of CPSIs approved by the department.

The only programs that do not have to have documentation of compliance with R 400.8170(11) are those that are for school-age children only and the program is in school building approved by the Michigan Department of Education. If this type of program chooses not to have a playground inspection, the parents of the children enrolled in the program must be informed in writing that the playground equipment and surfacing may not comply with the 2010edition of the Handbook for Public Playground Safety. 

How do I find a certified playground safety inspector? 

As of July 1, 2009, a certified playground safety inspector (CPSI) approved by the department must be used. A list of approved playground safety inspectors can be found on the child care licensing website at  >Information for Providers >Inspections for Centers >Playground Inspections. 

Once corrections are made for a playground inspection, does the inspector need to come back out? 

Yes, the certified playground safety inspector is the authority to determine if compliance has been achieved once the corrections have been made. 

I had a playground inspection and I have items that need to be fixed. How long do I have to fix them? Can the children still use the equipment? 

Corrections to the playground inspection need to be made prior to allowing children use the equipment. The playground equipment needs to be approved by a certified playground safety inspector before use.