Michigan is home to many well-trained and highly qualified childcare providers and directors. Catering to young children before they start school is essential, particularly for families that can't provide this care themselves. As someone in the childcare domain, your motivation likely comes from a passion for supporting children, and you might even manage your own childcare facility.
While having a profound commitment to your role is commendable, it's not the sole prerequisite for running a childcare program in Michigan. Adhering to the state's laws and regulations is crucial as well. Non-compliance could lead to the suspension or loss of your childcare license.
As a childcare provider in Michigan, you must align with all relevant regulations, undergo necessary inspections, and address any complaints. It's common for licensing issues to stem from misinterpretations, inaccurate information, or parents unaware of daycare center obligations. As a childcare provider or staff member, non-adherence to the regulations or lack of requisite training might lead to the loss of your license.
If you need support in defending your childcare license, the Lento Law Firm is here to help. Our Professional License Defense Team is ready to work on your case. Reach out to us at 888-535-3686 or complete our online form, and we'll promptly connect with you.
Childcare Licensing Laws in Michigan
Licensed childcare programs in Michigan are regulated by the Child Care Licensing Bureau (CCLB), which is part of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). The activities of CCLB include:
- Issuing state childcare licenses
- Conducting routine inspections of childcare facilities
- Investigating complaints about childcare facilities
- Enforcing state and federal childcare requirements
CCLB is the state agency you will deal with when you want to license your new daycare or if there's a problem with your license.
Reasons You Could Lose Your Childcare License in Michigan
LARA may deny, revoke, or refuse to renew a license or take other disciplinary action for the following violations:
- Falsifying information on the application
- Not complying with local zoning laws
- Having a previous license or certificate revoked or refused
- Previously working in a childcare program that violated rules in the Child Care Organizations Act
- Not completing a regular criminal history check
- Smoking on the premises of a childcare program
- Failing to keep a copy of the CCLB rules for childcare programs available
- Releasing a child to someone other than their parents or a person authorized by their parents
- Adding space or changing the capacity of the childcare program without getting written approval from LARA beforehand
- Spending less than six hours per day at your childcare program (if you're the program director)
- Failing to appoint a lead caregiver
- Employing an individual who is registered on the public sex offender registry
- Failing to complete the necessary training for employees within 90 days of being hired
- Not following proper handwashing guidelines
- Diapering outside of a designated diapering area
- Using hitting, spanking, shaking, biting, pinching, or other corporal punishment on children
- Placing substances in the children's mouths, such as soap, vinegar, or hot sauce
- Depriving a child of meals, snacks, rest, or necessary toilet use
- Excluding a child from outdoor play
- Confining a child in an enclosed area
- Giving a timeout to a child under three years old
- Giving or applying prescription or nonprescription medication to a child without the parent's permission
For minor violations, CCLB might issue you a corrective action plan. This plan will include requirements for fixing the issue within a certain time period. If you're unable to address the matter in the given time, you have a more serious violation, or you have multiple minor violations, CCLB might take more drastic action against your license.
In addition to corrective action plans, CCLB also issues provisional licenses. This license is temporary and only given when your childcare program can't conform to the rules in the Michigan Child Care Organizations Act. Provisional licenses only last six months and can only be renewed three times.
Dealing with Alleged Childcare Licensing Violations
The list of infractions above doesn't cover even a small portion of the violations you could be accused of in your childcare program. If you don't follow these rules and meet the standards set by CCLB and LARA, you could face disciplinary action.
When a CCLB licensing specialist determines that your childcare facility is violating the rules or has received a complaint about your daycare from a parent, you shouldn't wait to see what happens. You should take action right away to protect your license. Even if it starts as a minor issue, it could spiral into something much more serious and ultimately result in you losing your license. As soon as you learn about an alleged violation, you should contact a team of Professional License Defense attorneys, such as the Lento Law Firm. The sooner you contact a lawyer with your issue, the more help and guidance they'll be able to provide you throughout the process.
Childcare Providers that Require Licenses in Michigan
In Michigan, there are three types of childcare providers that must have a license to operate. These providers include:
- Family child care home: A family child care home is a private home that provides care and supervision to between 1-7 minor children for periods of less than 24 hours per day, for more than four weeks per year. Babysitting does not count as operating a family childcare home so long as the compensation for babysitting services doesn't exceed $600 in one year.
- Group child care home: A group child care home is a private home that provides care and supervision to between 6-12 minor children for periods of less than 24 hours per day, for more than four weeks per year.
- Child care center: A child care center is a facility other than a private residence that receives more than one child under 13 years of age for care for periods of less than 24 hours per day. This facility provides care for at least two consecutive weeks at a time.
While each type of childcare organization has slightly different requirements, all of them require a license and must follow the Child Care Organizations Act. They all have to submit to surprise inspections from CCLB—and they all can be subject to disciplinary licensing actions.
Who Can File a Complaint Against Your Childcare License?
Anyone can file a complaint against a childcare organization in Michigan by using the state's Child Care Hub Information Records Portal (CCHIRP). Complaints can easily be submitted online through this portal. A parent or any person can also use CCHIRP to search for your childcare organization and see the following:
- Name, address, and phone number of your childcare organization
- Days and general hours of operation
- Your license number and effective date
- The date of your last CCLB inspection
- The number and nature of adverse actions taken against your childcare organization
- The number and nature of special investigations involving your childcare organization
Even if you had a minor violation in the past and resolved it quickly, it will still appear in the CCHIRP database. If you haven't committed any violation at all, but there's a complaint against you, and your daycare is under investigation, it's publicly shown on CCHIRP as well. Sometimes, doing everything right still isn't enough to keep your childcare program in the clear. Parents can see the entire history of your childcare license online, and the information they find there might dissuade them from selecting your childcare organization for their children.
At the Lento Law Firm, we understand the challenges of maintaining a licensed childcare center in Michigan. We can help you deal with complaints filed through CCLB so you can focus on providing top-notch care for the children in your program.
Simply Telling the Truth May Not Be Enough
We've helped many licensed professionals with their defense, and from our experience, merely presenting your perspective is not always sufficient. While you have the right to defend any accusations against you, the final decision often lies within the guidelines of LARA. If your childcare license is at risk, merely stating the facts might not protect you from penalties.
When children's welfare is at stake, LARA takes any violation claims seriously. Every allegation undergoes careful scrutiny. The department's primary focus is to resolve issues as effectively as possible while minimizing potential harm to children.
Even if you've told the truth, the decision regarding your childcare license may not reflect the actual circumstances. LARA might not carry out a comprehensive investigation, resulting in a faulty judgment. The department may also be predisposed to side with the accuser, potentially overlooking evidence favorable to you. Such oversights can lead to biased decisions as well.
For childcare providers in Michigan, it's important to recognize that any miscommunication or conflict with a parent could jeopardize your license. At the Lento Law Firm, we're committed to ensuring you're granted a just hearing and the opportunity to defend your rights. We strive for the most favorable outcome for your situation.
Potential Sanctions for Your Childcare License
If you have been found violating the rules related to your childcare license, LARA could take any of the following actions:
- Refusal to renew
CCLB and LARA can also take a range of informal, less severe actions, such as issuing a corrective action plan. Whether the matter is dealt with informally first or goes directly to formal disciplinary action depends on the severity of the alleged violation.
The department can also take injunctive action against your childcare program, meaning you can receive a court order to cease operations immediately. LARA can only seek an injunction if the two following conditions are met:
- An investigation by the department determines there is an imminent threat to the public health, safety, welfare, or well-being of a child.
- The department obtains an affidavit from an individual familiar with your childcare program and its potential violations.
Depending on your situation, a sanction may be unavoidable. However, by working with an attorney, you might be able to obtain a lesser sanction through negotiations with CCLB and LARA. The attorneys at the Lento Law Firm can help you deal with the department and licensing specialists to negotiate a less severe sanction for your license. Getting your license revoked or even having an injunction against your childcare program can cause irreparable harm. It's likely you'll have to shut down your daycare, forcing parents to find other childcare options. Our Professional License Defense lawyers can help you avoid these disastrous consequences.
Adjudication Process for Childcare Licensing Issues in Michigan
The Child Care Organizations Act has an adjudication process for licenses that have been denied, revoked, or had renewal refused. This process goes as follows:
- Notice: You receive written notice that your license is about to be revoked or not renewed. Your license cannot be revoked or refused renewal without you receiving advance notice from LARA.
- Initial Appeal: You can appeal the revocation or refusal to renew to the LARA director within 30 days of receiving the notice. If you don't appeal within 30 days, the adverse action takes effect. If you submit your appeal on time, you get a hearing. Before the hearing takes place, the director of the department can issue subpoenas to compel certain witnesses to testify at the hearing or ask for documents or other items relevant to the case.
- Hearing: LARA sets a hearing date and must notify you at least two weeks before the hearing takes place. At the hearing, you can present testimony on your behalf and question witnesses. You are also allowed to have an attorney present with you at the hearing. While your hearing process is going, your current childcare license does not expire (even if the proceedings extend beyond the date of expiration stated on your license).
- Decision: The director of LARA makes a decision as soon as possible after the hearing and forwards it to you 10 days later.
- Final Appeal: You can appeal the director's decision with the judicial review process. It allows you to contest the department's decision in a court of law. You must file a petition for review in the circuit court of the county where your childcare organization is licensed. You have 60 days from the date of the LARA director's decision to send your petition to the circuit court. The court that hears your petition for review can either affirm, reverse, or modify the decision or remand the case to the department for further proceedings.
As you can see, the adjudication process for fighting for your childcare license in Michigan isn't necessarily straightforward. You have strict deadlines to meet and formal proceedings to attend to defend yourself. If you're unfamiliar with how an administrative law hearing goes, you may easily find yourself overwhelmed.
At the Lento Law Firm, we help licensed childcare providers deal with this adjudication process. We take care of the legal processes and paperwork and even represent you at hearings so you can focus on the daily operations of your childcare program.
How Can an Attorney Help with a Childcare Licensing Issue?
While it might seem like an added cost, engaging a lawyer is crucial for childcare providers who are confronting penalties. The consequences of losing your license can be severe, affecting both your livelihood and the well-being of the children under your supervision. Here's why we recommend seeking our expertise.
- The bar is low for sanctions. When addressing complaints against childcare providers, LARA usually leans in favor of the complainant unless you can prove otherwise. The burden is on you to demonstrate the inaccuracy of the allegations and your adherence to all pertinent regulations. It's therefore vital to devise a plan to protect your license.
- LARA outmatches your resources. If you're facing a problem or grievance related to your childcare center, you might have to deal with a member of the CCLB or, if you challenge the LARA decision, the LARA director. While you might not have the extensive resources that LARA has, seeking legal counsel can help level the playing field. LARA is a large department with plenty of legal experts well-versed in childcare licensing.
- We have experience helping childcare providers. We've helped countless licensed professionals in Michigan and nationwide deal with licensing issues—and with good results. We'll work meticulously on your case to try and deliver the best possible outcome for you.
You have a daycare program to run; you don't have time to deal with licensing specialists or fill out tons of administrative paperwork (in addition to all your regular paperwork). While you focus on the day-to-day operations of your childcare program, our team will handle your license defense issue. That way, you can focus on what matters most: providing care to the children in your program.
The Services Our Firm Can Provide You
At Lento Law Firm, our primary objective is to shield you from potential penalties. If these penalties are inevitable, we will strive to mitigate the consequences for you. You can rely on us to provide the following:
- Thorough case assessment: When you contact us, we'll thoroughly assess your circumstances to identify the best course of action. We'll let you know which outcome you can ideally expect based on the severity of the charges against you.
- Independent investigation: We will conduct an in-depth review of your case. Rather than solely depending on external references, we'll verify each detail ourselves. Getting the appropriate evidence and witnesses can greatly influence the outcome of your case.
- Examination of alternate options: We can collaborate with LARA to find a resolution without resorting to a formal hearing. In some cases, discussions with LARA's legal representatives can lead to a mutually beneficial resolution.
- Representation at all proceedings: A member of our team will go with you to all meetings, proceedings, and hearings related to your childcare licensing case. You'll always have someone by your side to offer you support and guidance.
- Help with litigation: If necessary, pursuing legal action might be your optimal choice. We typically suggest litigation as a last resort after all other defense avenues for your license have been explored. Our team is available to evaluate your circumstances and advise on the most suitable approach for your situation.
Our network of lawyers works closely with licensing bodies and their legal representatives. We assess every facet of our clients' situations and work to secure the most favorable results.
We Serve Childcare Providers Throughout Michigan
The Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm works with childcare providers all over the state of Michigan, including in the following areas:
- Grand Rapids
- Warren City
- Sterling Heights
- Ann Arbor
- Farmington Hills
- Rochester Hills
- Southfield City
- West Bloomfield
- Dearborn Heights
Our team can help all Michigan-based childcare providers, so even if you don't see your city listed above, we can still assist you.
Contact the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team
Defending your childcare license can be challenging if you're trying to go it alone. At the Lento Law Firm, we can offer support, guidance, and advice as you deal with this issue. If you'd like to discuss your licensing concerns, please reach out to us at 888-535-3686 for a consultation. You can also complete our contact form, and a member of our team will get in touch with you.