The nearly 500 state-licensed in-home child care providers in Fairfax County are facing changes in state licensing provisions and a possible change in county zoning ordinances to make state and county regulations more consistent.
In a letter to day care providers, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova explained that while Virginia allows a licensed child care provider to care for up to 12 children, Fairfax County allows “by right” seven children in a single-family detached dwelling and five children in a townhouse, apartment, or mobile home.
With a Special Permit (granted by the Board of Zoning Appeals) Fairfax County currently allows up to 10 children in an in-home day care facility, less than the state maximum of 12 children.
Bulova said the supervisors will consider changing the county ordinance to allow for up to 12 children with a special permit. The board will hold a public hearing on the issue to solicit information and opinions from county residents on the possible change. If the change is adopted by the board, the maximum number of children allowed by special permit would be the same as the maximum number of children allowed by state licensing regulations.
Bulova said that since that process can take several months, Fairfax County will temporarily not enforce the limits against a current provider who is not in compliance with the zoning ordinance unless the violation presents a health or safety risk.
In the meantime, The Virginia Department of Social Services has agreed to renew existing licenses for providers for their existing number of children until otherwise notified by Fairfax County, essentially granting a temporary grace period while this issue is being resolved.
“Child Care Providers in Fairfax County play an important role in the early childhood development and the safety of our children. I am hopeful that these steps will allow for us to work through these changes in a constructive and supportive way,” Bulova said.
Bulova said that child care providers with questions or comments could her office at 703-324-2321. Contact information for the Office for Children is 703-324-8100. The Zoning Administrator can be reached at 703-324-1314.