In Tennessee, you are allowed to care for up to 4 unrelated children without being licensed. However, you will be expected to obtain a license from the Department of Human Services if you are offering care and supervision for five (5) or more unrelated children for three (3) or more hours per day.

Note that if you are offering care and supervision to five (5) or more unrelated children for three (3) or more hours per day without a license and you do not comply with the criteria for license-exempt status, and then you are operating illegally.

Have it in mind that running a child care agency without the needed license in the State of Tennessee is a Class A misdemeanor criminal offense. Illegal operators are usually investigated by Child Care Licensing staff via unannounced visits to the facility. The law offers Child Care Licensing agencies the right to inspect all suspected child care facilities and to petition the local Chancery Court for an order of inspection if they are not allowed access.

Note that the state of Tennessee mandates each applicant to attend an orientation before applying to babysit legally. You will have to consult your district’s Child and Adult Care Licensing office to register to attend the next session.

During orientation, note that you will learn details about the application process and requirements your home needs to comply with bathrooms, transportation, staffing, meal areas, nap areas, programs, equipment, and outside play spaces.

Immediately after this initial inspection, it is time to table your application and pay the necessary fee, coupled with proof of education and experience and the contact information for three references. Also note that environmental and fire/safety inspectors will be your next visitors, after which you submit your fingerprints, criminal history disclosure form, and background check. Immediately you scale through all these inspections, the state of Tennessee issues you a 90-day provisional license that becomes permanent once you pass the next inspection.

Basic Rules and Requirements to Babysit in Tennessee

Offering child care services in Tennessee involves a whole lot of legal processes, with standards that can seem quite specific and often overwhelming. However, to help and make your endeavors easier, here are basic requirements to note;

  1. Family Childcare Home Rules and Regulations in Tennessee

A family child care program is a sort of early childhood education where a caregiver caters to children in their own home, often with the help of an assistant. In the State of Tennessee, there are requirements to be aware of.

General Requirements

  • Max number of Children: 5 – 7 children
  • Ages: Note the exact number of children you can have is dependent on their ages. By default, the number of allowed children will go down the younger the children in your group are.
  • Background & Fingerprinting: Needed
  • Background Check of other people in the home: Needed

Training Requirements

  • Orientation Class: Yes (free training offered in licensing process)
  • Abuse and Neglect Class: Yes
  • Adult/Infant First Aid and CPR: The provider is expected to have pediatric CPR and first aid training. Someone with this training will need to be at the location at all times, so it is ideal to have your subs trained as well.
  • Bloodborne Pathogen: Some First Aid training classes will include it.

Inspection Requirements

  • State Inspections: Annually (or sooner if a complaint is filed)
  • Sanitation Inspection Required for License: Yes, it’s added in the licensing evaluation.
  • If you are not on public sewer/water, your well will also have to be inspected. Your water heater will also have to be inspected as well.

Costs

  • Application Fee: $100
  • Sanitation Inspection: Basic inspection included. If you require extra inspecting, the fee will vary.
  • Background & Fingerprinting: Cost covered by your licensing fee
  • Background Check for other people in the home: Cost covered by your licensing fee
  1. Group Childcare Home Rules and Regulations in Tennessee

Group childcare homes are known to offer child care in a family home regularly for more than three hours per day per child. However, note that in this type of care there can be seven to 12 children, aged six weeks to 12 years, coupled with four more school-age children. A primary on-site provider operates a Group Family Day Care. Requirements for this sort of childcare in Tennessee include;

General Requirements

  • Max number of Children: 8 – 12 children
  • Ages: Have it in mind that the number of allowed children will go down the younger the children in your group are.
  • Background & Fingerprinting: Needed
  • Background Check for other people in the home: Needed

Training Requirements

  • Orientation Class: Yes (free training offered in licensing process)
  • Abuse and Neglect Class: Yes
  • Adult / Infant First Aid and CPR: The provider is expected to have pediatric CPR and first aid training. Someone with this training will have to be at the location at all times, so it is advisable to have your subs trained as well.
  • Bloodborne Pathogen: Some First Aid training classes will include it.
  • Medical Exam: Needed
  • TB Test: Maybe mandatory if you are considered high risk

Inspection Requirements

  • State Inspections: Annually (or sooner if a complaint is filed)
  • Sanitation Inspection Needed for License: State Health Inspection also required

Costs

  • Application Fee: $125
  • Sanitation Inspection: State Health Inspections fees vary, but are low ($0 – $50)
  • Background/Fingerprinting: Cost covered by your licensing fee
  • Background Check for other people in the home: Cost covered by your licensing fee
  1. Centre Childcare Rules and Regulations in Tennessee

Note that these centers are more or less located in commercial buildings. Centers are bigger and care for more children than family child care providers. They are more or less divided into groups or classrooms of similarly aged children. Requirements for these centers in the state of Tennessee include;

General Requirements

  • Max number of Children: Variable based on the size of the facility
  • Background Check: Mandatory for all staff and volunteers left alone with children.

Training Requirements

  • Orientation Class: Yes (8 hours of free training)
  • Abuse and Neglect Class: Yes
  • Adult / Infant First Aid and CPR: Yes
  • Blood-borne Pathogen Class: Yes, if transporting

Inspection Requirements

  • State Inspections: Every year (or sooner if a complaint is filed)
  • Sanitation Inspection Required for License: Yes, yearly (Health & Safety Inspection and a Fire Inspection)

Costs

  • Application Fee: This will depend on the number of children you want to have
  • Sanitation Inspection: Varies county to county
  • Fire Inspection: Varies county to county (sometimes no charge)

Conclusion

Babysitters and child care providers are known to impact children by establishing a sense of security that can last a lifetime. Note that this safety creates a launchpad from which children are free to learn and explore the world. However, to assure parents that their children will be safely cared for, the state of Tennessee has a strict licensing process for babysitters and most importantly for child care providers.