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Follow-up Materials from: NAFCC 30th National Conference Workshop (July 18. 2020)

Presentation: Strategies to Address Local Barriers to Family Child Care Homes: Zoning, Landlords, HOAs, & More

Presenters Joe Perreault, PFCCAG and Natalie Viera, All Our Kin

Background

This document was written by PFCCAG in support of the Family Child Care Marathon (FCCM) project, a coalition of organizations including CDF Action, 9to5 National Organization of Working Women, Professional Family Child Care Alliance of Georgia (PFCCA), Quality Care for Children (QCC) and United Way of Greater Atlanta. 

The goal of FCCM is to smooth and shorten the race to provide high quality family child care at the neighborhood level by addressing local government policies creating cost, time, and regulatory roadblocks.   “It should not be a marathon uphill all the way.”

Note: This paper does not render legal or other professional advice concerning the zoning process in general or in a specific community.  If you require this type of assistance, please consult a professional to represent you.

Helpful Materials and Sites

The Child Care Law Center in California has many useful articles and publication on local barrier issues including land use planning, zoning laws, landlord and homeowner issues. The website is www.childcarelaw.org.  Articles particularly helpful are:

 

A Child Care Advocacy Guide to Land Use Principles, Child Care Law Center Inc., 2003

Legal Issues for Family Child Care Providers in California: Housing and Property, Child Care Law Center Inc, Revised 2005

Municode.  There is a national database and website for most city-county zoning laws. It is called “Municode”.  The website is www.municode.com.  Go to the Homepage and select the menu item “Code Library.”  We found, in a few cases, the city-county had not updated, Municode on a recent change in its zoning law.  Therefore, start with Municode and compare with any information on the city or county website.

American Planning Association.  The American Planning Association (APA) in 1997 issued the American Planning Association (APA) Policy Guide on the Provision of Child Care.

Family Child Care Marathon (FCCM) Project Materials

In 2018, after studying the DeKalb County GA zoning law and process to apply for a zoning permit, the FCCM Project concluded the process was complicated including many steps and difficult to understand.  The project created a spreadsheet to help FCC applicants track the process and time and cost of complying with the law.  The tracking tool is called DeKalb County GA Zoning Approval Process for FCC Homes-Tracking Sheet.  While specific to the DeKalb County process, the tool could be adopted for use in other city-counties settings.

In 2019, FCCM created three handouts for use by a provider applicant involved in securing zoning permission to operate through their city or county.  The audience for the handouts was neighbors, planning/zoning staff, zoning review commissioners or elected officials voting on the application. 

One document, What is Family Child Care and Why Do Parents Choose This Form of Care? explains what makes FCC unique and valuable to parents seeking child care.  

Another document, Family Child Care as a Community Resource, describes the valuable role FCC plays in a neighborhood and discusses some common neighbor concerns (traffic, noise, property value).  A copy of the handout is Here.

The third handout, High Standards for Health, Safety, Child Development and Professionalism: 
GA Family Child Care Learning Home Licensing Regulations
explains GA FCC licensing regulations.  The intent is to show FCC is highly regulated and will be operated in a safe, healthy, manner which assures care will be high quality and an asset to the community.  While it does not say so, the handout implies it is not necessary for a city or county to create additional “conditional requirements” higher than licensing.  A copy of the handout is Here.

In 2020, the FCCM Project is ready for the next big step by creating support materials for GA FCC applicants and applicant support organizations.  The materials both complete research on zoning requirements in specific city-counties and show, by example, how to conduct the same research in another location.  The materials show that the key characteristics of a zoning law an applicant needs to find and understand are: Definitions, Districts, Prohibited/Permitted Policies, Conditional Use Requirements, and Application/Approval Process.  Each of these concepts are explained by use of real case example, the zoning law for Macon-Bibb County GA.  During 2020, the FCC Marathon expects to complete studies for from 12 to 30 cities or counties. 

There are two publications:

One is a narrative summary entitled Macon-Bibb County Zoning Requirements for Family Child Care (FCC) Narrative Explanation for FCC Applicants and Applicant Support Organizations. 

 

The other is entitled Macon-Bibb GA Zoning Requirements for Family Child Care (FCC) Applicant Analysis (Definitions, Districts, Conditions, Process).  This publication is a more detailed analysis of the law describing, among other questions, whether FCC is Prohibited, Permitted, or Permitted by Special Permit in each of the 35 types of districts in the Macon Bibb law.  There is also a section entitled “Conditional Requirements Analysis” which contains a rating by the FCCM project of every “Conditional Use requirement”.  The ratings are based on a “RED-YELLOW-GREEN scale and rates the degree of difficulty, cost, or time involved in meeting the condition.  
 

© Professional Family Child Care Alliance of Georgia

Principal Author Joe Perreault

To our family child care provider community: In the midst of this crisis, we know you are doing your best. We are trying our best too, and we appreciate your patience.

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©2020 Professional Family Child Care Alliance of Georgia, Inc.