Child Care Center Operators
Community Care Licensing Inspection Authority
Produced by the Community Care Licensing Division of the California Department of Social Services
[On-screen, a licensing program analyst inspects a child care program. The inspection scenes in this video are staged examples.]
Series Host [Off-screen]:
Ensuring that your facilities offer children a safe and secure environment is one of the core missions of the Community Care Licensing division of the California Department of Social Services. [Host on-screen.] One of the key ways that licensing implements that mission is by conducting inspections of all licensed childcare operations in the state. Knowing what to expect during an inspection will enable you to demonstrate that you’re meeting all health and safety requirements.
[Two licensing representatives speak.]
Community Care Licensing Representative 1:
Inspections are a key part of how the licensing program administers and supports the tens of thousands of childcare facilities in California. The goal of an inspection is to ensure compliance with regulations, which are intended to maintain the health and safety of children in care.
Community Care Licensing Representative 2:
Inspections also give you one on one access to your licensing program analyst, also known as an LPA, who can provide you with important updates, answer your questions, and point you to helpful resources.
CCL Rep #1:
However, if your LPA finds a licensing violation during an inspection, they’re required to document it and share their findings with you.
CCL Rep #2:
Even if an inspection results in a citation, the goal is to see to it that all problems are corrected, and you are back to operating in full compliance.
[The host speaks, and the questions she asks are displayed on a white board.]
When, and under what terms will inspections take place?
[As the host speaks off-screen, an LPA enters a child care center and begins to inspect areas of the program.]
Inspections can begin up to 1 hour before, and at any time during normal operating hours, and can take place up to 1 hour after the facility closes. All inspections are conducted on an unannounced basis, except pre-licensing visits, which are scheduled in advance.
[On-screen, the self-assessment guides for child care centers and family child care homes appear. The cover of the family child care assessment guide opens, and pages turn to reveal several checklists in the guide.]
It’s to your advantage to perform your own inspections on a regular basis to make sure you’re meeting all licensing requirements and laws, and therefore be able to demonstrate compliance when your LPA arrives.
What will an inspection include?
[The host speaks as the corresponding content is displayed onscreen.]
Inspections include a tour of your entire facility and everything in it that’s accessible to children, including:
- Examining cabinets, closets, and storage.
- Checking that all required locks and latches are in place and operating.
- And checking exterior areas and equipment that are part of your childcare facility.
During the inspection, your LPA will review all the records you are required to keep current and accurate, and confirm that all items you’re required to post are up to date and easily viewable. Your LPA will also confirm that the number of children being cared for at your facility does not exceed the maximum number your license allows, and that you have the minimum required ratio of adults to children on duty.
What are my rights and responsibilities when a licensed program analyst inspects my facility?
When your LPA arrives, you have the right to view their state ID and be informed of the purpose of the visit. If the LPA’s credentials are in order, you are required to let them in. If you deny them entrance for any reason, you will be subject to a citation, a civil penalty, and possible legal action. You have the right to ask an inspector any questions you have about the inspection process, including any changes to childcare requirements. If your LPA identifies anything that does not meet licensing requirements, you have the right to be told what was found, and what action will be taken in response to it. You also have the right to appeal a reported violation and/or citation if you believe it was made in error, and you provide the information required to have it addressed.
What are the LPA’s rights and responsibilities during an inspection?
[On-screen, an LPA inspects a kitchen.] An LPA has the right to enter your facility and do an inspection of all areas and materials that are part of it. [Host on-screen.] This includes off-limits areas if there is reason to believe there is a health and safety concern to children in care. Also, an LPA has the right to interview children in your care, as well as staff members.
How do I benefit from having my childcare operation inspected?
First of all, you have the opportunity to confirm that you are in compliance with all state regulations, which means you’re doing everything required of you to provide a safe and healthy place for children. And if there is anything wrong with your childcare operation, you will be alerted to it, and guided in how to remedy the problem. You can use the visit to build your relationship with your LPA, which can result in you providing better service to children.
What are the key points you need to know about the inspection authority of Community Care Licensing? Licensed program analysts have the right to do an inspection of your facility, your records, and postings, and if needed, to talk one on one with children and staff members. At the same time, you can learn what may need to be repaired or done differently, receive guidance in making those changes, and clarify any questions you have about licensing regulations. Most importantly, you can make certain the children you’re caring for are in a healthy and safe environment.
State of California