There are over 65,600 pre-K teachers, administrators, and special education teachers working in California, according to the California Employer Development Department. It takes someone with a special combination of dedication, education, and energy to effectively teach and manage a classroom of energetic youngsters. But even more of these professionals are needed every year. But to be one, you must have the right education and credentials. It takes years and dedication to obtain all the credentials it takes to care for young, developing minds — either as a direct caregiver or an administrator or owner of a child care facility. One complaint against you and your career in child care development — and your livelihood — could be gone. Don't let a complaint jeopardize your future. Take action today and fight for your career and your good name. Contact the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 today for a consultation about how we will fight for your child care license in California. You can also contact us online with your case details, and a member of our team will reach out as soon as possible.
Legal Powers the California Department of Social Services Has to Discipline You
The California Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division, Child Care Program Office — or simply the Child Care Licensing Program — oversees and enforces the state's licensed Child Care Centers and Family Child Care Homes, with 21 Regional Offices throughout the state. All children and families are afforded the same protections under the law and regulations for child care facilities, regardless of age, ethnicity, cultural background, gender, socioeconomic status, or ability.
The Program ensures that child care facilities in the state operate according to the California Health and Safety Code and Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations through prevention, compliance, and enforcement.
These required prevention efforts aim to reduce the harm to children in care:
- Orientation prior to licensure
- Background checks
- Adequate staffing
- Fire clearances
- Verification of financial stability
- Health screenings
- Pre-licensing inspections of the physical facility
- Understanding of regarding laws and regulations
Child care centers must comply with the California Health and Safety Code, California Child Day Care Act, and California Code of Regulations Title 22. Compliance is maintained through:
- Unannounced facility inspections
- Complaint investigations
- Follow-up on self-reported incidents
- Deficiency notice issuance
- Education and technical support
- Follow-up on plans of correction
Corrective action is taken by the Program when a licensed facility fails to protect the health, safety, and personal rights of children in its care or is unwilling to maintain substantial compliance with California licensing laws and regulations. Enforcement is maintained through:
- Civil Penalties (according to the violation)
- Non-compliance office conferences
- Administrative legal actions, which may include:
- Application denial
- Compliance plans
- License probation
- Temporary license suspension
- License revocation
- Licensee and employee exclusions
The Lento Law Firm Represents Child Care Workers and Owners in Cities Across California
The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team represents child care workers and facilities across the country in defense of their professional licenses. Here are just a few of the California cities we cover:
- San Francisco
- San Diego
- San Jose
- Los Angeles
- Long Beach
- Santa Barbara
- Santa Rosa
- Santa Cruz
- Long Beach
- Santa Monica
- San Bernadino
Child Care Worker Requirements in California
The Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) issues six levels of permits for child development for preschool teachers. To earn CTC child development credentials, you must complete the following certain requirements:
Child Development Assistant Permit
This permit allows someone to care for children in a childcare and development program as long as they are under the supervision of an associate teacher or a teacher of higher ranking.
Child Development Associate Teacher Permit
This permit allows teachers to care for children in a childcare program and to supervise a Child Development Assistant and aide.
Child Development Teacher Permit
This permit allows a teacher to provide services in a childcare and development program. It also allows them to supervise a Child Development Associate teacher, assistant, and aide.
Child Development Master Teacher Permit
This permit allows a teacher to supervise aides, teachers, and associate teachers. It also allows them to serve as a curriculum coordinator in a child development or early childhood center.
Child Development Site Supervisor Permit
This permit allows someone to supervise a childcare and developmental program. It also allows them to serve as a staff development and curriculum coordinator in a childcare and development program.
Child Development Program Director Permit
This permit allows someone to supervise a program that operates out of a single site or out of multiple sites. It also allows them to provide children in a child care and development program with services in the instruction, development, and care of children. It also enables them to serve as a staff development and curriculum coordinator.
Child Care Center Requirements in California
Individuals who provide care for their own children or the children of a relative and no more than one other family are not required to have a child care license if they are legally exempted from licensure requirements in California. However, if you are providing care and supervision to children who are not related to you for more than one family in your home or non-residential facility for less than 24 hours, you will need a license to operate. However, there are specific instances where the law will allow some child care providers to legally operate without a license.
Family Child Care Homes
To be a family child care operator, the applicant must live in the home where you want to provide child care. They may be required to make modifications to their home. For example, they may have to provide safety features if they have a pool or hot tub. The applicant and any adult living or working in the home must submit their fingerprints for a criminal background record check and a Child Abuse Index check. They must also have a TB test and take 15 hours of preventive health and safety training.
Child Care Centers
To be a child care center operator, the applicant must provide documentation that they have at least one year of experience as an operator of a regulated small family child care home or one year of experience serving as an administrator or director of, or as a teacher at, a licensed child care center. These facilities are usually located in a commercial building, and only non-medical supervision is provided for infant to school-aged children in a group setting for less than 24 hours.
Grounds for Sanctions Against Child care Workers in California
Child care workers in California are subject to regulations and oversight by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and other relevant agencies. Grounds for sanctions against child care workers in California can include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Child Abuse or Neglect: Child care workers can face sanctions if they are found to have physically, emotionally, or sexually abused or neglected children in their care.
- Criminal Offenses: Conviction of certain criminal offenses, particularly those involving child endangerment, violence, or illegal drugs, can lead to sanctions.
- Licensing Violations: Violations of state licensing requirements, including those related to staffing ratios, health and safety standards, and facility conditions, may result in sanctions.
- Failure to Report Child Abuse: Child care workers are mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect. Failing to report such incidents can lead to disciplinary actions.
- Unauthorized Child Care Operations: Providing child care services without the required license or outside the scope of one's licensing can lead to sanctions.
- Misrepresentation or Fraud: Providing false information during the licensing process, including fraudulent documentation, can result in disciplinary actions.
- Violation of Child Care Regulations: Failure to comply with state child care regulations, such as sanitation, nutrition, or staff qualifications, may lead to sanctions.
- Failure to Maintain Proper Documentation: Child care workers are required to maintain accurate records and documentation related to children's health, safety, and attendance. Failing to do so can result in disciplinary actions.
- Inadequate Supervision: Inadequate supervision of children in care, leading to unsafe or harmful conditions, can be grounds for sanctions.
- Health and Safety Violations: Any violations of health and safety standards, such as the presence of hazardous materials or inadequate emergency plans, may result in disciplinary actions.
- Child Endangerment: Actions that put children's safety or well-being at risk may lead to sanctions.
- Violation of Ethical Standards: Child care workers are expected to adhere to ethical standards and practices, and violations can result in disciplinary actions.
Complaints Against California Child Care Workers and Centers
The Child Care Licensing Program is charged with ensuring the health and safety of children in care. As part of this mission, the program aims to “provide preventive, protective, and quality services to children in care by ensuring licensed facilities meet established health and safety standards.”
Complaints made to the Community Care Licensing Board about situations that could threaten the health and safety of children in care are always taken seriously by the California Department of Social Services and the Child Care Licensing Program. When a formal complaint is received by the Program, it begins a process to determine whether a facility is in compliance and can make ensure violations in facilities are investigated and corrected.
Most complaints that result in investigation concern:
- Health and safety
- Care and supervision
The Adjudication Process for Child care Centers and Workers Facing Licensing Issues in California
When a complaint is made, the licensing staff must initiate an investigation within 10 days. If another agency is also involved in the investigation, that time frame may be exceeded. Generally, the investigation should not take longer than 90 days. However, if other agencies are involved, it could exceed this time frame.
Here is a general overview of the adjudication process for Child Care Centers and Workers Facing Licensing Issues in California:
- Investigation: The process often begins with an investigation triggered by a complaint, a routine inspection, or other incidents. CDSS may investigate allegations of licensing violations, child abuse or neglect, criminal activity, or other issues.
- Notice of Deficiency or Accusation: If, during the investigation, CDSS determines that there are licensing issues, they may issue a Notice of Deficiency or Accusation to the child care center or worker. This document outlines the specific violations, allegations, or deficiencies that have been identified.
- Response: The child care center or worker has the opportunity to respond to the Notice of Deficiency or Accusation. This response may include providing evidence, explanations, or corrections to address the concerns raised.
- Hearing Request: If the licensing issues are not resolved through the response, the child care center or worker can request an administrative hearing. The request for a hearing must be made within a specific timeframe, and it initiates the formal adjudication process.
- Pre-Hearing Conference: Before the administrative hearing, there may be a pre-hearing conference to clarify issues, stipulate facts, and explore the possibility of a settlement or agreement between the parties.
- Administrative Hearing: The administrative hearing is a formal legal proceeding where an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) presides over the case. Both parties, including CDSS and the child care center or worker, have the opportunity to present evidence, call witnesses, and make legal arguments.
- Hearing Decision: After the administrative hearing, the ALJ issues a written decision that includes findings of fact and conclusions of law. This decision determines whether sanctions or other actions will be taken and specifies the reasoning behind the decision.
- Appeals: If the child care center or worker disagrees with the outcome of the administrative hearing, they may have the option to appeal the decision to a higher authority or court, depending on the circumstances.
- Compliance or Sanctions: If the decision results in sanctions, such as suspension or revocation of the child care license or other corrective actions, the child care center or worker must comply with the orders outlined in the decision.
Sanctions for Child Care Workers and Centers in California
In California, child care workers and centers are subject to various regulations and standards to ensure the safety and well-being of children in their care. These regulations are enforced by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and the Community Care Licensing Division. Sanctions may be imposed on child care workers and centers for violations of these regulations. Some of the common sanctions and penalties include:
- Citations: CDSS may issue citations for non-compliance with regulations. Citations can result in fines and the requirement to correct the violations promptly.
- License Suspension: Child care centers may have their licenses suspended if they are found in serious violation of licensing regulations. During a suspension, the center is not allowed to operate or provide child care services.
- License Revocation: In cases of severe and repeated violations, a child care center's license may be revoked. This means the center is permanently closed and cannot provide child care services.
- Probation: Child care centers may be placed on probation for a specified period if they have serious compliance issues. During probation, the center must meet specific conditions to continue operating.
- Criminal Penalties: In cases of severe child abuse or neglect, child care workers or center operators may face criminal charges, which can lead to fines, probation, or imprisonment.
- Civil Penalties: Child care centers may be fined for certain violations, and these fines can vary depending on the nature and severity of the violation.
- Denial of License or Approval: If a child care worker or center fails to meet the licensing or approval requirements, they may be denied a license or approval to operate.
- Administrative Appeals: Child care workers and centers have the right to appeal sanctions, and there are administrative processes in place for this purpose.
Reasons to Hire an Attorney from the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team When Facing License Sanctions in California
When facing license sanctions as a child care worker in California, it is crucial to hire an attorney from a reputable firm to build a strong case in your defense. The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team can help you in the following ways:
- Legal Advice: Our Professional License Defense attorneys have specific knowledge and experience in the complex area of administrative law and regulatory matters. They understand the legal nuances of defending against license sanctions.
- Knowledge of Regulations: Our attorneys are well-versed in the laws and regulations governing child care licensing in California. They can navigate the specific requirements and procedures involved in the child care industry.
- Customized Strategies: The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team can develop personalized defense strategies tailored to your unique situation, including addressing the specific allegations or deficiencies raised by the regulatory authority.
- Mitigation of Sanctions: Your attorney can work to minimize or mitigate the potential sanctions you may face. This can include negotiating with the regulatory agency to reach a more favorable resolution.
- Protection of Your Rights: Your attorney can advocate for your rights and ensure that you are treated fairly throughout the adjudication process, including during investigations, hearings, and appeals.
- Evidence Gathering and Presentation: Your lawyer can help you gather evidence, interview witnesses, and present a strong case on your behalf during administrative hearings. They know how to build a compelling defense.
- Administrative Hearings: Our Professional License Defense Team will represent you effectively during administrative hearings, including cross-examining witnesses and making legal arguments.
- Appeals: If you receive an unfavorable decision, your attorney can help you navigate the appeals process, including filing appeals and presenting your case to higher authorities or courts.
- Faster Resolution: Having an experienced attorney from our team fighting for you can expedite the resolution of your case, potentially minimizing the disruption to your career and life.
- Peace of Mind: Dealing with a licensing issue can be stressful. Having a dedicated attorney from the Lento Law Firm can provide you with peace of mind, knowing that you have a legal professional working to protect your license and livelihood.
- Professional Reputation: Protecting your professional reputation is essential. Your attorney can help you maintain your credibility within the child care industry.
- Compliance Guidance: Your attorney can provide guidance on how to achieve and maintain compliance with licensing regulations to prevent future issues.
If you're a child care worker facing license sanctions in California, it's crucial to consult with the Professional License Defense Team from the Lento Law Firm to understand your rights and legal options. We can offer valuable support and legal representation throughout the process to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.
Call the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team Today to Discuss How We Will Fight for Your Child care License in California
It takes years to obtain child care credentials. It takes an even greater investment of time and money to become a provider of a licensed California Child Care Center or Family Child Care Home. One complaint or allegation can put your license, career, and reputation in jeopardy. If you or your child care facility faces allegations of professional wrongdoing, now is the time to fight for your livelihood and future. The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team has helped countless professionals like you protect their hard work and reputation.
Defending your license should be a priority, and our team is ready to start immediately on building a strong case in your defense. Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 today for a consultation to discuss how we will fight for your child care license in California. You can also contact us online with your case details, and a member of our dedicated team will reach out as soon as possible.