The County regulates the operation of child care centers in Arlington through a series of inspections. The processes outlined below discuss the County’s inspections and reviews once a child care center is open for business.
The checklist below includes recurring inspections needed to operate a child care center in Arlington:
- Use permit Review
- Business License and Tangible Personal Property Tax
- County Child Care Licensing Inspection
- State Child Care Licensing Inspection
- Fire Inspection
- Food Establishment License Inspection
Use Permit Review
County Department: Planning Division, CPHD
The approved use permit for a child care center stipulates when the use permit will go before the County Board for review. Typically, the County Board reviews the use permit one year after the original approval date to ensure that the child care center is operating according to the approved permit conditions. Three years after the County Board review hearing, staff will review the use permit administratively. If no issues arise, staff may recommend no further reviews. CPHD Planning Division staff will notify a child care center operator when their use permit is scheduled for use permit review.
Business License and Tangible Personal Property Tax
County Department: Office of the Commissioner of Revenue
Child care centers must submit a business license return, and make any payment required, by March 1 of each year. All businesses are strongly encouraged to file and pay online. Once approved, applicants will receive a business license certificate from the Office of the Commissioner of Revenue. When completing the business license tax return, please include the Certificate of Occupancy issued by the Zoning Division.
In addition to the business license, all Arlington County businesses must file a Business Tangible Personal Property Return each year on or before May 1. Payments, if applicable, are due each year on or before September 5. Businesses must report tangible personal property owned, leased, or in their possession in Arlington County each year as of January 1.
Child care center operators are required to pay an annual license tax of thirty-five cents ($0.35) for each $100 of gross receipts from the business during the preceding calendar year. Instead of the tax rate, a flat fee may apply for businesses with annual gross receipts of $100,000 or less.
County Child Care Licensing Inspection
County Department: Child Care Services Office, DHS
Child care centers are inspected for initial licensing, renewal purposes, routine monitoring and when complaint allegations are made against the facility. A renewal inspection will be conducted for child care centers every two years to determine compliance with Arlington County Code Chapter 52 Child Care Centers. A Child Care Specialist will conduct an unannounced inspection prior to the licensee’s expiration date.
Routine monitoring inspections will be conducted during the license period. A Child Care Specialist will conduct an unannounced monitoring inspection on a routine basis or when deemed necessary to determine compliance with Arlington County Code Chapter 52.
A complaint inspection will be conducted when the Child Care Services Office receives an allegation against the child care center. A Child Care Specialist will conduct an unannounced complaint investigation to determine compliance with Arlington County Code Chapter 52. Complaint investigations may be conducted jointly with other local and/or state agencies.
State Child Care Licensing Inspection
State Department: VDSS
Child care centers are inspected by VDSS twice a year, where at least one inspection is unannounced. Upon two years of operation, child care center programs will need to renew their State child care license with VDSS. For more information related to the state licensing inspection process, see the website below.
County Department: Fire Prevention Office, Fire Department
An operational permit and fire inspection are required to operate a child care center in compliance with the Arlington County Fire Prevention Code. A fire prevention permit will be issued for commercial properties one year after acceptance testing and issuances of a CO and each year of continued operation (annually). To begin each annual inspection process, file a Child/Daycare Application – Fire Prevention Permit with the Fire Prevention Office. An inspection by the Fire Prevention Office will occur at your center within 30 business days of submitting the application.
Food Establishment License Inspection
County Department: Public Health Division, DHS
If food is cooked, prepared, and/or served at a child care center, applicants will need to renew their food establishment license annually. All child care centers with a food establishment license must comply with Chapter 9.2, Food and Food Handling Code of the Arlington County Code. Arlington County adopts the current and prevailing FDA Food Code. The Public Health Division inspects based on risk and the food processes performed in the child care center. Each child care center will receive at least two inspections annually.
*Reminder, a NVCFM must be on duty during all hours of operation.