The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is considering changes to county rules for child care providers who care for kids in their homes.
Among the changes under review is an increase in the maximum number of children that the provider can care for so that it is in line with state maximums.
Virginia grants child care licenses for as many as 12 children. However, current county zoning rules allow providers to only care for as many as 10 children.
Providers can care for no more than to five children, not counting their own, in a townhouse or apartment and as many as seven children in a single family home without zoning approval from the county.
There are about 450 in-home child care providers in Fairfax County that are registered with the state. The state regulates providers who are caring for six to 12 children.
Although the matter will be subject to public hearings and additional board and Planning Commission review, the proposal still likely will maintain the special permit application process required for those who want to care for more than seven children at a time.
The board also could opt to increase the number of children allowed at one home without a permit, and they could lower the $1,100 filing fee required to file for a special permit.
While Supervisor Gerry Hyland (D-Mount Vernon) suggested the filing fee might be cost prohibitive for some providers, other supervisors said they think it is fair to recover some of the cost of the staff time involved.
“They are in the business of child care,” said Supervisor Penny Gross (D-Mason). “It’s a business expense for the child care provider.”
Supervisor Linda Smyth said she thinks it is important to maintain some sort of zoning approval process for providers.
“Typically where we get the complaints is with pickup and drop off,” she said.
The Board of Supervisors was briefed on the options for changes to the zoning ordinance during a committee meeting Tuesday. County staff will present a revised proposal later this year, which will be referred to the Planning Commission for study and ultimately will come back before the board in the late winter.