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Reviewing Paperworks

Meeting Local Requirements

DECAL requires you show proof you meet several requirements for businesses of the local government (city or county) where you live.  Three (3) requirements, zoning permit, business permit, fire department inspections are common to all applicants.  The DECAL publication, Applicant’s Guide to Licensing for Family Child Care Learning Homes (Revised July 2020), describes the three as follows: 

  • Contact the local Fire Marshall to determine if there are local ordinances that apply to operating a Family Child Care Learning Home in your area. 

  • Submit with the application a letter from the local zoning department indicating your residence is zoned for a Family Child Care, or a letter stating there are no zoning regulations. 

  • Submit with the application a valid business license with the facility address or a letter stating a business license is not required/or will be issued upon completion of the Bright from the Start licensing process.

Sometimes local requirements serve as barriers to opening your FCCLH home.  Since, 2017 PFCCAG has addressed local barriers through an effort called the FCC Marathon Project.  

Since it started the project completed research on the zoning law in 20 cities or counties in the state primarily because a potential family child care provider living in that area asked for our help in understanding or complying with the zoning law.  But there are 525 cities and 159 counties in GA, so our work is far from finished.

Publications of the project include a series of “narrative explanations” for a specific city or county.  Each narrative is based on the zoning law in that specific city or county. 

A visual representation of how three different departments of Cobb County government coordinate during an application for zoning approval, business permit, and Fire Marshall approval.  This may not be the way another city or county may do it but it offers insight on the process.

A general guide to zoning for a family child care advocate describing how to research a zoning law for a specific city or county and description of key information to seek out including: Definitions, Districts (also called zones), Permitted-Prohibited Policies, Conditional Requirements, and Approval process.


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