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(1) The department may investigate and inspect the conditions and qualifications of any day care facility or any person seeking or holding a license or registration.

(2) A family day care home or group day care home must be registered. A day care center must be licensed.

(3) Licensing, registration, and inspection of family day care homes, group day care homes, and centers are the responsibility of the department with the exception of the required local health authority and state fire marshal inspections. Licensing and issuing certificates of registration are delegated to the supervisor of the day care licensing program.

(4) A registrant or licensee shall not discriminate in child admissions or employment of staff on the basis of race, sex, religion, creed, color, national origin, or disability. Any determination of discrimination will be made by the Montana Human Rights Commission.

(5) Within 30 days of receipt of the signed and completed application forms, the department will evaluate the application for registration or licensure based upon the requirements found in these rules.

(a) A prospective family day care home or group day care home that meets all requirements as evidenced by the application shall be issued a registration certificate. The registration certificate may be provisional, restricted, or regular.

(b) A prospective day care center will be visited and the program and facility inspected by a licensing worker within 30 days of receipt of the completed application. If the applicant meets the requirements for licensure the department will issue a license to the applicant. The license may be either provisional or regular.

(6) A provisional registration certificate or license may be issued for a period of up to three months when the day care facility does not meet all of the requirements if the facility is attempting to comply. A second three month provisional certificate or license may be issued in special circumstances, at the discretion of the program supervisor, the total length of time of issuance not to exceed six months.

(a) A plan for full compliance with requirements for registration or licensure must be submitted by the day care facility to the department before issuance of a provisional certificate or license.

(b) Written notification of the granting of a provisional certificate or license by the department must be made to the licensee, or registrant specifying the reason, duration, and conditions for continuing or terminating the provisional certificate or license.

(c) The department may not issue a provisional license to any day care center which has not been approved by the state fire marshal and the public health authorities.

(d) The department may not issue a provisional certificate or license to any day care facility which does not have current public liability insurance and fire insurance.

(7) Regular registration certificates and licenses are issued from the department's Quality Assurance Division licensure bureau for periods up to three years.

(a) A three year license or registration may be offered to any provider who has not received a notice of deficiency during a current on site inspection.

(b) A two year license/registration may be offered to a provider who has five or fewer deficiencies in areas of the rules that the department determines do not significantly affect or threaten the health and safety of any child attending the facility.

(c) A provider who has been in operation less than one year is not eligible for an extended license/registration.

(8) The department, after written notice to the applicant, licensee or registrant, may deny, suspend, restrict, revoke, or reduce to a provisional status a registration certificate or license upon finding that the applicant has not met the requirements for licensure or registration set forth in these rules.

(9) Suspension or revocation may be immediate if:

(a) upon referral of suspected child abuse or neglect regarding an operating day care facility, the initial investigation reveals that there are reasonable grounds to believe that a child in the facility may be in danger of harm;

(b) the department requests and is denied access to the licensed or registered facility;

(c) the provider has made any misrepresentations to the department, either negligently or intentionally, regarding any information requested on the application form or necessary for registration or licensing purposes;

(d) the provider, a member of the provider's household or staff has been named as the perpetrator in a substantiated report of child abuse or neglect as defined in ARM 37.95.1016.

(e) through a child care licensing investigation, it is determined that the provider, provider staff or member of the provider's household has violated a licensing regulation which results in the harm to a child as defined in 41-3-102 , MCA; or

(f) information received from law enforcement and tribal law enforcement indicating the provider has caused physical, sexual, or emotional harm to a child.

(10) The provider shall maintain all policies, records, and reports that are required by the department. These policies, records, and reports must be reviewed and updated annually.

(11) The registration certificate or license is not transferable to another operator or site.

(12) The department must be notified of any changes that would affect the terms of the registration or licensure.

(13) Separate registration certificates and licenses shall be required for programs maintained on separate premises even when operated by the same provider.

History: 52-2-704, MCA; IMP, 52-2-704, 52-2-723, 52-2-731, 52-2-732, 52-2-733, MCA; NEW, Eff. 12/31/72; AMD, 1978 MAR p. 205, Eff. 2/5/78; AMD, 1981 MAR p. 1792, Eff. 12/18/81; AMD, 1985 MAR p. 177, Eff. 2/15/85; AMD, 1985 MAR p. 2041, Eff. 12/27/85; TRANS, from Dept. of SRS, 1987 MAR p. 1492, Eff. 7/1/87; AMD, 1989 MAR p. 1664, Eff. 10/27/89; AMD, 1991 MAR p. 1000, Eff. 6/28/91; AMD, 1993 MAR p. 1210, Eff. 6/11/93; AMD, 1995 MAR p. 23, Eff. 10/14/94; AMD, 1996 MAR p. 1311, Eff. 5/10/96; TRANS, from DFS, 1998 MAR p. 2881; AMD, 2000 MAR p. 2415, Eff. 9/8/00; AMD, 2002 MAR p. 2231, Eff. 8/16/02; AMD, 2006 MAR p. 1424, Eff. 6/2/06.

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