The role of regulatory standards for child care facilities and providers is to ensure the health and safety of children, including the quality of attention and instruction provided. A licensed child care program in Oregon must meet requirements managed by the Child Care Licensing Division (CCLD) and oversee compliance with education criteria, nutrition standards, safety protocols, and communication with parents, among many others. Licensees of all classifications must follow a stringent set of requirements or risk CCLD enforcement action, which can quickly lead to license revocation.
Licensing agencies employ administrative proceedings to investigate, adjudicate, and sanction alleged misconduct, which work much differently than legal proceedings in a courtroom. For instance, varying evidentiary standards, speedy timelines, and fewer means of redress after punishment is handed down—and once a license is revoked, it can take years to regain credentials.
It's imperative for Oregon child care facilities and providers to know how they will defend their licenses before allegations arise. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team has a passion for defending child care licensees against discipline. They understand the difficulties of administrative investigations and how sanctions can disrupt the care they provide for children. For guidance, call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 today or go online immediately for help.
Oregon Child Care Licensing Standards
There are hundreds of different types of child care facilities and provider settings across Oregon's landscape, but there are just three different CCLD licenses. While all maintain health and safety requirements, they are three very different sets of credentials, which include the following:
- Registered Family Child Care: Smaller groups of children—up to 10 individuals—in a home setting, typically with one caregiver.
- Certified Family Child Care: Larger groups of children—up to 16 individuals—in a home setting, with at least one, but usually multiple caregivers.
- Certified Child Care Center: Commercial facilities certified to care for 13 or more children or a facility certified to care for 12 or fewer children located in a building constructed as other than a single-family dwelling.
Although there are some licensing exemptions for alternative settings, CCLD requires background checks for recorded programs, health and safety inspections, and background checks for employment-related daycare providers.
The licensing process for child care facilities and providers in Oregon involves several steps, including complying with planning and zoning laws, as well as the submission of a complete floor plan to the CCLD with dimensions of rooms, locations of amenities, and proper sanitation facilities. CCLD licensing specialists will conduct pre-certification visits to determine employee qualifications, staff‐to‐child ratios, enrollment in the state's Central Background Registry (CBR), and rules specific to the age groups accommodated by the facility or provider.
Licensed child care providers must also follow strict requirements regulated outside of CCLD and the Oregon Department of Early Learning and Care (ODELC). For example, the following:
- Americans with Disabilities Act—U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
- Bicycle and Vehicle Child Safety—Oregon Department of Transportation
- Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting—Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS)
- Child Care Restrictable Diseases and Immunizations—Oregon Health Authority
- Civil Rights Laws—Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries
Providers in a home setting will adhere to slightly different rules, primarily from ODLEC's Office of Child Care (OCC). Some OCC requirements include the following:
- First aid, including infant and child cardiopulmonary resuscitation
- Food Handlers Certification
- OCC-approved Safe Sleep training and Child Care Health and Safety Certification
- Understanding and training in Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect
During a licensed year, the facility or provider will receive at least one unannounced visit from a licensing specialist who will audit various specifications. A visit will also occur for annual license renewals that include an on-site visit by a licensing specialist, fire marshal, and environmental health specialist. The CCLD may grant an exception to an individual rule or requirement for a specified period of time when a provision does not apply to a facility or provider, but it must be requested.
Oregon Child Care License Compliance and Complaint Procedure
Other than annual visits from licensing specialists and other relevant authorities, facilities and providers are kept accountable by parents, staff, and other members of the public. Therefore, complaints regarding licensing violations may originate from countless sources.
OCC will respond to complaints, and if allegations contain information of abuse or neglect, DHS or local law enforcement agencies may be involved. Regardless, licensing specialists will assess the situation with one of the following conclusions:
- Valid: There is evidence that non-compliance occurred.
- Invalid: There is evidence that non-compliance did not occur.
- Unable to Substantiate: There is conflicting evidence, or evidence is not available on whether the non-compliance occurred.
After the visit, OCC will prepare and mail to the facility or provider a report of the findings, including conclusions made and, if appropriate, the actions required of the facility to come into compliance or a fine may be imposed. A facility's Quality Rating and Improvement System rating or Spark Star rating may be impacted by a valid finding of non-compliance.
Information regarding complaints found Invalid will not be shared with the public after the assessment, yet complaints found Unable to Substantiate will be shared for two years, and complaints found Valid will be publicly shared for ten years. If a child care facility or provider does not agree with the findings of a complaint assessment, they may request a findings review from the OCC.
License Revocation Contested Case Hearings
OCC maintains the authority to immediately—and without prior notice—suspend a license when such action is necessary to protect the child under care from “physical or mental abuse or a substantial threat to health, safety or well‐being.” OCC may also revoke a license if the following occurs:
- Program or center deficiencies found in assessment or investigation failing to be corrected.
- Withholding information from OCC.
- Staff refuse to allow assessment or inspection.
- A staff member's failure to enroll in the CBR or when CBR enrollment is suspended.
- Interference with good faith disclosure of information or complaints.
- Criminal activity or any other violation of state or federal law.
Child care facilities and providers may appeal suspension or revocation to the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) through a contested case hearing conducted by a presiding officer. Each party is served a notice that includes the following information:
- The time and place of the hearing.
- The authority and jurisdiction under which the hearing is to be held.
- A reference to the particular sections of the statutes and rules involved.
- A short statement of the matters asserted or charged, including whether an order by default may be entered.
In a contested case hearing, facilities and providers may present evidence and arguments regarding all issues of a complaint, non-compliance, and license suspension or revocation before the presiding officer. Informal dispositions may result through contested case hearings by stipulation, agreed settlement, consent order, or default.
During license revocation proceedings, informal settlements can lead to fines or other forms of intermediate action by written agreement of the parties involved, including the overseeing agency. Critically, a presiding officer that incorporates an informal disposition is a final order in a contested case but is not subject to judicial review. However, child care facilities and providers have the opportunity to petition the agency to set aside a final order that incorporates the informal disposition on the ground that the informal disposition was obtained by “fraud or duress.”
At the conclusion of a contested case hearing, the presiding officer will provide an explanation of the issues presented during the proceedings and a final order. No sanctions will be imposed or included in a final order unless non-compliance or any other rule violations are supported by “reliable, probative and substantial evidence.”
License Revocation Initial Affects
Once a final order is given with revocation remaining as a sanction, child care facilities and providers must immediately notify all parents of the closure. Additionally, all commercial and in-home facilities must post a notice of the closure, where parents and others can view it for a minimum of two weeks.
If an informal settlement is reached instead of revocation, there will be timelines for the completion of stipulations and other agreements documented in the final order. It's essential for licensees to understand that failure to correct substantiated violations, abide by stipulations of the agreement, or pay civil fines is grounds for immediate license revocation.
The ways in which OCC and child care licensees reach agreements can leave facilities and providers with complex obstacles to navigate to gain compliance with agency rules and other stipulations pursuant to informal settlements and final orders. But any complaint against a facility or provider or an allegation of non-compliance is a threat to an Oregon child care license.
Licensing specialists can begin their investigation into non-compliance immediately, and depending on the type of allegations, officials from multiple state and federal agencies may be involved. Situations can quickly become intimidating when staff members are focused on child care. Nevertheless, even unsubstantiated accusations can seriously harm any child care facility or in-home provider. The public will be able to access information regarding the complaint and the subsequent investigation for two years, which may leave parents and potential clients asking questions.
Why You Need the Lento Law Firm to Help Protect Your Oregon Child Care License
As a professional child care licensee, you understand the regulations managing your business, child nutrition, safety protocols, and communication with parents. However, navigating the complaint procedure and OAH contested case hearings requires a different set of skills.
The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team knows what kind of stress investigations and sanctions can place on licensees. You've worked tirelessly to obtain the credentials necessary to care for children and remain in compliance with agency regulations, so let the Lento Law Firm provide the defense you need to continue providing child care.
Our team of attorneys will ensure you are represented in OAH hearings in front of the presiding officer and defending against agency authorities. However, the Lento Law Firm can be a resource in many other steps along the way to retaining your license like the following:
- Instructing facility staff members and volunteers on their rights when complaints or allegations are lodged or under investigation.
- Review the complaint and other relevant information to begin a baseline defense.
- Gather witness testimony and analyze measures of compliance with various agency regulations.
- Assist in correspondence and drafting responses to the ODLEC, CCLD, OCC, or other authorities involved.
- Lead negotiations with the OAH and state officials to manage potential sanctions and broker resolutions prior to a contested case hearing.
- Pursue further appellate measures with the Oregon state court system if needed.
Working hastily to find representation when allegations arise can lead to you not getting the resources you need to defend yourself against licensing agencies. And without a robust representation, licensees are left vulnerable to adverse action. Therefore, teaming with a Lento Law Firm attorney who understands how licensing boards manage discipline is a valuable career investment in your child care facility and career.
Areas the Lento Law Firm Serves in Oregon
Oregon is home to numerous child care facilities and providers covering an array of urban, suburban, and rural settings. They offer a range of programs, from infant care to preschool education, and often focus on activities that support social, emotional, and cognitive growth. Parents in Oregon can find child care facilities that suit their specific needs, whether it's full-time care, part-time care, or early education.
While many states often categorize child care facilities and providers by region to promote effective management of licensees, Oregon's system runs statewide. However, child care facilities work as a complement to the state's traditional education system. Therefore, below is a general overview of how Oregon divides and manages public and private K-12 schools into education service districts (ESDs):
Clackamas ESD: Canby, Colton, Estacada, Gladstone, Lake Oswego, Molalla River, North Clackamas, Oregon City, Oregon Trail, and West Linn-Wilsonville school districts.
Columbia Gorge ESD: Dufur, Hood River County, North Wasco County, and South Wasco County school districts.
Douglas ESD: Camas Valley, Days Creek, Elkton, Glendale, Glide, North Douglas, Oakland, Riddle, Roseburg, South Umpqua, Sutherlin, Winston-Dillard, and Yoncalla school districts.
Grant County ESD: Dayville, John Day, Long Creek, Monument, and Prairie City school districts.
Harney ESD: Burns, Crane, Diamond, Double O, Drewsey, Frenchglen, Harney County Union High, Pine Creek, South Harney, and Suntex school districts.
High Desert ESD: Bend-LaPine, Crook County, Redmond, and Sisters school districts.
InterMountain ESD: Athena-Weston, Baker, Burnt River, Cove, Echo, Elgin, Helix, Hermiston, Imbler, Ione, La Grande, Milton-Freewater, Morrow, North Powder, Pendleton, Pilot Rock, Pine Eagle, Standfield, Ukiah, and Umatilla school districts.
Jefferson County ESD: Ashwood, Black Butte, Culver, and Jefferson County school districts.
Lake ESD: Adel, Lake County, North Lake, Paisley, and Plush school districts.
Lane ESD: Bethel, Blachly, Creswell, Crow-Applegate-Lorane, Eugene, Fern Ridge, Junction City, Lowell, Mapleton, Marcola, McKenzie, Oakridge, Pleasant Hill, Siuslaw, South Lane, and Springfield school districts.
Linn Benton Lincoln ESD: Alsea, Central Linn, Corvallis, Greater Albany Public, Harrisburg, Lebanon Community, Lincoln County, Monroe, Philomath, Santiam Canyon, Scio, and Sweet Home school districts.
Malheur ESD: Adrian, Annex, Arock, Harper, Huntington, Jordan Valley, Juntura, McDermitt, Nyssa, Ontario, and Vale school districts.
Multnomah ESD: Centennial, Corbett, David Douglas, Gresham-Barlow, Parkrose, Portland, Reynolds, and Riverdale school districts.
North Central ESD: Arlington, Condon, Fossil, Mitchell, Sherman County, and Spray school districts.
Northwest Regional ESD: Astoria, Banks, Beaverton, Clatskanie, Forest Grove, Gaston, Hillsboro, Jewell, Knappa, Neah-Kah-Nie, Nestucca Valley, Rainier, Scappoose, Seaside, Sherwood, St. Helens, Tigard-Tualatin, Tillamook, Vernonia, and Warrenton-Hammond school districts.
Wallowa ESD: Enterprise, Joseph, Tryo, and Wallowa school districts.
South Coast ESD: Bandon, Brookings-Harbor, Central Curry, Coos Bay, Coquille, Myrtle Point, North Bend, Port Orford-Langlois, Powers, and Reedsport school districts.
Southern Oregon ESD: Ashland, Butte Falls, Central Point, Eagle Point, Grants Pass, Klamath County, Klamath Falls City, Medford, Phoenix-Talent, Pinehurst, Prospect, Rogue River, and Three Rivers-Joesphine school districts.
Willamette ESD: Amity, Cascade, Central, Dallas, Dayton, Falls City, Gervais, Jefferson, McMinnville, Mt. Angel, North Marion, North Santiam, Perrydale, Salem-Keizer, Sheridan, Silver Falls, St. Paul, Willamina, Woodburn, and Yamhill-Carlton school districts.
Attorneys from the Lento Law Firm serve each and every one of these areas. No matter where your facility or in-home setting is located, we can help you.
Consequences of Losing an Oregon Child Care License
Losing a child care license is a serious event with far-reaching implications. Since child care licensees must provide vital information to the state, and thus made available to the public, all sanctions, including investigations, can be found online in many circumstances. Once a license is suspended or revoked, the following consequences may affect your facility or provider center:
- Immediate termination of child care services
- Negative financial impacts on the center and employees
- Reputation harm
- Client retention issues
- Obstacles to re-licensing
- Potential legal issues
As mentioned before, whenever a final order is reached following OAH proceedings, the orders and sanctions take place immediately. If the presiding officer affirms a license revocation from OCC, child care facilities must close down operations and inform parents at once. Closure will disrupt the care arrangements for families who rely on these services as they will have short notice to vacate the center, also disturbing the routine and stability of children who were attending the facility. Even with a shorter-term license suspension, it can lead to the breakdown of the ability of a provider to restart after the disciplinary period ends.
Commercial facilities and in-home child care providers rely on competent, compassionate, and dedicated staff to administer instruction and promote the well-being of children. License suspension and revocation also means the end of their employment. If their source of income is halted, it can quickly lead to financial difficulties, especially if it's their primary livelihood.
Depending on the reasons for the loss of the license, providers may face legal consequences, including fines or legal action. Violations can have a range of repercussions given the number of agencies that have oversight over child care professionals. Moreover, there are a range of fines that OCC may impose, including the following:
- Non-serious violations: $250 per violation.
- Serious violations: $750 per violation.
- Operating without a license: $1,500 per day.
Aside from the immediate impacts, license revocation means child care facilities and providers must undergo a waiting period before applying for a new license. For former license holders, five years must pass before reapplying. Moreover, previous disciplinary action is often used as a reason to deny reapplication. Even when a child care license is regained, the news of former disciplinary action may negatively impact community standing and make it challenging to reenter the field.
With these considerable consequences, any Oregon child care licensee should consult with the Lento Law Firm. It's essential to understand your obligations, possible strategies for defense before allegations are levied, and how to remain compliant with agency regulations.
Professional Child Care License Defense for Oregon Facilities and Providers
The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team is dedicated to helping Oregon child care license holders navigate complaints, allegations of non-compliance, and any disciplinary actions levied against them. After working hard to push through licensure requirements and maintain state agency guidelines, you need a team that can represent you effectively, understand how the state manages child care license regulations, and broker a resolution with the CCLD, OCC, or other governing bodies.
Local lawyers may try to convince those undergoing the disciplinary process that they can use their courtroom experience to help argue their way out of sanctions. However, administrative hearings—those used by state licensing agencies—have different processes and standards of evidence than those occurring in the courtrooms. As well, local attorneys often use forceful tactics as a first line of defense. If you're a licensed child care facility or provider, you need stress-free, comprehensive assistance in retaining your authorization to operate a child care facility, not aggressive legal tactics that fail to serve your best interests.
Get the assistance you need to properly defend yourself and maintain your child care credentials. Call the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team at 888-535-3686 today for help, or schedule a consultation online.