State of Tennessee handbooks on operating a child care facility are available at:

  1. Group Child Care Homes 1240-4-1 http://tn.gov/sos/rules/1240/1240-04/1240-04-01.20090314.pdf
  2. Drop-In Child Care Centers 1240-4-2 http://tn.gov/sos/rules/1240/1240-04/1240-04-02.20090314.pdf
  3. Child Care Centers 1240-4-3 http://tn.gov/sos/rules/1240/1240-04/1240-04-03.20090314.pdf
  4. Family Child Care Homes 1240-4-4 http://tn.gov/sos/rules/1240/1240-04/1240-04-04.20090314.pdf
  5. Centers (School-aged only) 1240-4-6 Repealed

If you remain interested after reading the handbook, you should call the Day Care Licensing Unit at (865) 594-6763 or (865) 594-6774 to preregister to attend an Orientation Session for Prospective Child Care Providers. The sessions are usually scheduled from 8:45 A. M. until 3:00 P.M. You must arrive on time and stay until 3 P.M. to receive your required Certificate of Attendance. Plan to arrive no later than 8:30 A.M. as the meetings begin promptly. These meeting are held at the Moses Teen Center Building at 220 Carrick St., located off Western Avenue, in Knoxville, TN.

Attendance at an Orientation is a requirement before the issuance of an annual license. You need to plan to attend this training several months prior to opening your agency. If you begin the licensing process prior to attending Orientation, the licensing office is not responsible for any problems you may incur.

Prior to the meeting, check with your local zoning board to see if your site is properly zoned. In Knox County, you must also have approval from the Metropolitan Planning Commission at (865) 215-2500 and the Plans Review office at (865) 215-2999 before you can get fire or health inspections. This must be done before you can open your agency.

The suggested needs assessment for starting a day care center includes answering such questions
as the following:

  • How many children in the community are under 6 or 12 years of age?
  • What day care centers, babysitting in private homes, and kindergartens are in operation?
  • Are there any day care centers being planned?
  • Are the above filled? Do they have a waiting list?
  • Do they receive request for services they are unable to provide?
  • What local industries employ women? What child care arrangements do these mothers have?
  • What hours do these mothers work? Are they interested in child care?
  • Is your facility located conveniently? Will it be easily accessible?

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