CHAPTER 165

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 196

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 31 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE DELAWARE CHILD CARE ACT.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (Two-thirds of all members elected to each house thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. Amend Chapter 3, Title 31 of the Delaware Code, by deleting § 341 through § 344 thereof in their entirety, and by substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"§ 341. Short Title

This Act may be referred to and cited as 'The Delaware Child Care Act'.

§ 342. Definitions.

For the purpose of this Act:

(a) 'Child care' means and includes:

(1) any person, association, agency or organization, which:

a. has in custody or control one child or more under the age of 18 years, unattended by parent or guardian, for the purpose of providing such child or children with care, education, protection, supervision or guidance;

b. is compensated for their services;

c. advertises or holds herself or itself out as conducting such child care;

(2) the provision of, or arranging for, the placement of children in foster care homes, adoptive homes or supervised independent living arrangements; and

(3) family child care homes, large family child care homes, day care centers, child placing agencies, residential child care facilities and day treatment programs as currently defined by regulation. Homes in which children have been placed by any child placing agency, properly licensed to place children in this State, shall not be regarded as ‘child care’.

(b) 'Office of Child Care Licensing' means the Office of Child Care Licensing within the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families.

§ 343. Powers of the Office of Child Care Licensing with respect to child care.

(a) Any person or association conducting child care and all institutions, agencies and associations or organizations, receiving and placing or caring for dependent, neglected or delinquent minors, including organizations providing care of children whether dependent or otherwise, in lieu of the care and supervision ordinarily provided by parents in their own homes for periods of less than 24 hours a day, must accord the Office of Child Care Licensing or its authorized agents right of entrance, privilege of inspection and access to its accounts and reports.

(b) A person or association conducting child care and all institutions, agencies, associations or organizations, receiving and placing or caring for dependent, neglected or delinquent minors shall make reports at such time as is required by the Office of Child Care Licensing as to conditions of such child care, the manner and way in which children are taken care of, former addresses and such other information as will show the social status of the child, how and to whom dismissed, the extent and source of its income, the cost of maintenance and such other reasonable information as will enable the Office of Child Care Licensing to promote the general welfare of the children and to work out a general program for their care and protection.

(c) The Office of Child Care Licensing may prescribe, by regulation or otherwise, any reasonable standards for the conduct of such child care facilities, institutions, agencies, associations or organizations and may license such of these as conform to such standards. All regulations, enforcement actions, decisions, investigations and the like previously promulgated or taken by the Office of Child Care Licensing shall continue unabated and shall remain in full force and effect notwithstanding passage of this Act.

§ 344. Child care licenses; investigations; requirements.

(a) No person may conduct child care, nor may any institution, agency, association, or organization conduct child care, unless first having obtained a license from the Office of Child Care Licensing. Such license shall expire one year from the date it is issued unless renewed.

(b) In the case of a person conducting child care, no license shall be issued to such person until the Office of Child Care Licensing has made a thorough investigation and has determined in accordance with reasonable standards:

(1) the good character and intention of the applicant or applicants;

(2) that the individual home or facility meets the physical, social, moral, mental and educational needs of the average child;

(3) whether the rules and requirements of the Office of Child Care Licensing are properly met; and

(4) that the required criminal background checks are completed and approved.

(c) In the case of an institution, agency, association, or organization, no license shall be issued until the Office of Child Care Licensing has made a thorough investigation and has made a favorably determination of:

(1) the good character and intention of the applicant or applicants;

(2) the present and prospective need of the service rendered;

(3) the employment of capable, trained and experienced workers;

(4) sufficient financial backing to ensure effective work;

(5) the probability of the service being continued for a reasonable period of time;

(6) whether the methods used and disposition made of the children served will be to their best interests and that of society;

(7) whether the rules and requirements of the Office of Child Care Licensing are properly met; and

(8) that the required criminal background checks are completed and approved.

(d) This section shall not apply to any institution, agency, association, or organization under state ownership and control, nor shall it apply to any maternity ward of a general hospital.

§ 345. Penalties for violations.

Anyone who violates a provision of this subchapter shall be fined not more than $100 or imprisoned not more than 3 months, or both."

Approved July 09, 2001