Take these steps to start the licensing process:
·                         Identify a potential site;
·                         Contact the construction official of the town or municipality, where the potential site is located, to determine if the property has been zoned to include a child care center;
·                         Secure a variance (permission to operate a child care center in an area that is not approved for business use) from the municipal officials if the building is not in a business zone; and
·                         Obtain a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) from the municipal construction official reflecting the building's compliance with applicable requirements of the State Uniform Construction Code (NJUCC). The CO must be one of the following use groups:
• I-4 (Institutional) for children younger than 2 ½ years of age;
• E (Educational) for six or more children 2 ½ years of age or older; or
• A-3 or A-4 (Assembly) for school aged child care programs (I-4 or E may also be used).
·                         The municipal zoning office or construction official can answer questions regarding a variance or a CO.
·                         Once you have established that the potential site is zoned for a child care center, you may contact the Office of Licensing toll-free at 1-877-667-9845 for a courtesy inspection. The Office of Licensing also reviews architectural plans for renovations and new construction of child care centers. These services are offered to prospective center operators at no cost.
·                         Read the Manual of Requirements for Child Care Centers very carefully. ( Click here  to obtain a PDF copy of the Manual of Requirements.) It includes requirements for: