(1) Family day care homes shall be licensed under this act if they are presently being licensed under an existing county licensing ordinance or if the board of county commissioners passes a resolution that family day care homes be licensed. (a) If not subject to license, family day care homes shall register annually with the department, providing the following information:
1. The name and address of the home.
2. The name of the operator.
3. The number of children served.
4. Proof of a written plan to provide at least one other competent adult to be available to substitute for the operator in an emergency. This plan shall include the name, address, and telephone number of the designated substitute.
5. Proof of screening and background checks.
6. Proof of successful completion of the 30-hour training course, as evidenced by passage of a competency examination, which shall include:
a. State and local rules and regulations that govern child care.
b. Health, safety, and nutrition.
c. Identifying and reporting child abuse and neglect.
d. Child development, including typical and atypical language development; and cognitive, motor, social, and self-help skills development.
e. Observation of developmental behaviors, including using a checklist or other similar observation tools and techniques to determine a child’s developmental level.
f. Specialized areas, including early literacy and language development of children from birth to 5 years of age, as determined by the department, for owner-operators of family day care homes.
7. Proof that immunization records are kept current.
8. Proof of completion of the required continuing education units or clock hours.
(b) A family day care home may volunteer to be licensed under this act.
(c) The department may provide technical assistance to counties and family day care home providers to enable counties and family day care providers to achieve compliance with family day care homes standards.
(2) This information shall be included in a directory to be published annually by the department to inform the public of available child care facilities.
(3) Child care personnel in family day care homes shall be subject to the applicable screening provisions contained in ss. 402.305(2) and 402.3055. For purposes of screening in family day care homes, the term includes any member over the age of 12 years of a family day care home operator’s family, or persons over the age of 12 years residing with the operator in the family day care home. Members of the operator’s family, or persons residing with the operator, who are between the ages of 12 years and 18 years shall not be required to be fingerprinted, but shall be screened for delinquency records.
(4) Operators of family day care homes must successfully complete an approved 30-clock-hour introductory course in child care, as evidenced by passage of a competency examination, before caring for children.
(5) In order to further develop their child care skills and, if appropriate, their administrative skills, operators of family day care homes shall be required to complete an additional 1 continuing education unit of approved training or 10 clock hours of equivalent training, as determined by the department, annually.
(6) Operators of family day care homes shall be required to complete 0.5 continuing education unit of approved training in early literacy and language development of children from birth to 5 years of age one time. The year that this training is completed, it shall fulfill the 0.5 continuing education unit or 5 clock hours of the annual training required in subsection (5).
(7) Operators of family day care homes shall be required annually to complete a health and safety home inspection self-evaluation checklist developed by the department in conjunction with the statewide resource and referral program. The completed checklist shall be signed by the operator of the family day care home and provided to parents as certification that basic health and safety standards are being met.
(8) Family day care home operators may avail themselves of supportive services offered by the department.
(9) The department shall prepare a brochure on family day care for distribution by the department and by local licensing agencies, if appropriate, to family day care homes for distribution to parents utilizing such child care, and to all interested persons, including physicians and other health professionals; mental health professionals; school teachers or other school personnel; social workers or other professional child care, foster care, residential, or institutional workers; and law enforcement officers. The brochure shall, at a minimum, contain the following information:
(a) A brief description of the requirements for family day care registration, training, and fingerprinting and screening.
(b) A listing of those counties that require licensure of family day care homes. Such counties shall provide an addendum to the brochure that provides a brief description of the licensure requirements or may provide a brochure in lieu of the one described in this subsection, provided it contains all the required information on licensure and the required information in the subsequent paragraphs.
(c) A statement indicating that information about the family day care home’s compliance with applicable state or local requirements can be obtained by telephoning the department office or the office of the local licensing agency, if appropriate, at a telephone number or numbers which shall be affixed to the brochure.
(d) The statewide toll-free telephone number of the central abuse hotline, together with a notice that reports of suspected and actual child physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect are received and referred for investigation by the hotline.
(e) Any other information relating to competent child care that the department or local licensing agency, if preparing a separate brochure, deems would be helpful to parents and other caretakers in their selection of a family day care home.
(10) On an annual basis, the department shall evaluate the registration and licensure system for family day care homes. Such evaluation shall, at a minimum, address the following:
(a) The number of family day care homes registered and licensed and the dates of such registration and licensure.
(b) The number of children being served in both registered and licensed family day care homes and any available slots in such homes.
(c) The number of complaints received concerning family day care, the nature of the complaints, and the resolution of such complaints.
(d) The training activities utilized by child care personnel in family day care homes for meeting the state or local training requirements.
The evaluation shall be utilized by the department in any administrative modifications or adjustments to be made in the registration of family day care homes or in any legislative requests for modifications to the system of registration or to other requirements for family day care homes.
(11) In order to inform the public of the state requirement for registration of family day care homes as well as the other requirements for such homes to legally operate in the state, the department shall institute a media campaign to accomplish this end. Such a campaign shall include, at a minimum, flyers, newspaper advertisements, radio advertisements, and television advertisements.
(12) Notwithstanding any other state or local law or ordinance, any family day care home licensed pursuant to this chapter or pursuant to a county ordinance shall be charged the utility rates accorded to a residential home. A licensed family day care home may not be charged commercial utility rates.
(13) The department shall, by rule, establish minimum standards for family day care homes that are required to be licensed by county licensing ordinance or county licensing resolution or that voluntarily choose to be licensed. The standards should include requirements for staffing, training, maintenance of immunization records, minimum health and safety standards, reduced standards for the regulation of child care during evening hours by municipalities and counties, and enforcement of standards.
(14) During the months of August and September of each year, each family day care home shall provide parents of children enrolled in the home detailed information regarding the causes, symptoms, and transmission of the influenza virus in an effort to educate those parents regarding the importance of immunizing their children against influenza as recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
(15) During the months of April and September of each year, at a minimum, each family day care home shall provide parents of children attending the family day care home information regarding the potential for a distracted adult to fail to drop off a child at the family day care home and instead leave the child in the adult’s vehicle upon arrival at the adult’s destination. The family day care home shall also give parents information about resources with suggestions to avoid this occurrence. The department shall develop a flyer or brochure with this information that shall be posted to the department’s website, which family day care homes may choose to reproduce and provide to parents to satisfy the requirements of this subsection.