After months of heated debate from parents and daycare providers, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors amended the zoning ordinance to bring rules concerning home child care in line with state code.
The amendment increases the maximum number of children allowed in a home child care facility from 10 to 12, and could also reduce the current Special Permit application filing fee of $1,100 to as low as $435.
“There is a tremendous need for quality child care in the county and we want to help make sure there are a sufficient number of providers available.”
-- Board Chairman Sharon Bulova (D-at-large)
“Fairfax County has a balanced approach to home child care,” said Board Chairman Sharon Bulova (D-at-large). “There is a tremendous need for quality child care in the county and we want to help make sure there are a sufficient number of providers available.”
The amendment was prompted by changes in state licensing regulations last July, requiring home care providers to receive approval from their local zoning administration before their license is granted or renewed.
The change highlighted a significant discrepancy between state regulations and local zoning laws. While the state of Virginia allows up to 12 children to be cared for in a home childcare facility, Fairfax County’s zoning ordinance allowed for a maximum of 10 children.
Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) said the change impacted nearly 400 state-licensed home childcare facilities in the county, “who, all of a sudden, unknowingly were operating in violation of the law.”
“What we weren’t able to do (with this amendment) is find a way for these 400 home childcare providers, who have been operating without any issues, to avoid a very bureaucratic, cumbersome and extensive process to stay in compliance,” Herrity said. “In the end what we did today was good, but it wasn’t good enough.”
To help educate providers on the amendment, Bulova called for an informational town hall to be held on July 20 from 10 a.m. to noon in the Board Auditorium at the Fairfax County Government Center.
“[The town hall meeting] will help providers prepare and file special permit applications and also outline a timeline for coming into compliance,” Bulova said.
Bulova said county staff will hold additional meetings around the county to assist providers with their applications and answer questions. These meetings will be advertised once dates and times have been finalized.