Complying With Regulations
Strictly speaking, those who are taking in a maximum of nine children aged four years old and below do not have to register their business but they do have to inform the District Social Welfare Department nearest to them.
However, even if you intend to look after less nine children or less, it is recommended that you meet with the requirements set for the professionally managed childcare centres. In localities where there is stiff competition, parents may opt for the centre with the most recognition from the various departments.
A lot more bureaucracy is involved when a childminder decides to go “big”, and accept 10 or more children under her care.
According to Section 4 of the Childcare Centre Act 1984, such childcare services or institution-based childcare centres must be registered with the district Childcare Social Welfare Services department. This is to protect the interest and safety of the children against abuse and neglect.
Moreover, those caring for more than nine children are required to comply with the regulations imposed by the Social Welfare Department, the Local Authority, Fire and Rescue Department and Health Department. They also need to get their services registered with the Social Welfare Services Department.
Each department looks at different aspects of your operations and services. Non-compliance means you will not get a permit to operate. If you decide to flout the law and run an illegal business, be prepared to pay RM1,000 for the first offence and RM2,000 for the second offence. Subsequent offences will see you RM2,000 poorer or a jail sentence not exceeding a year may be imposed.
The process of getting registered with the Social Welfare Services Department includes the following:
- Get a copy of the guideline and application form for a childcare licence from the District Social Welfare department nearest to you.
- Purchase four application forms for a childcare licence from the District Social Welfare Services department at RM1 each.
- Enclose a RM50 postal order upon submission of your completed application form to the District Social Welfare Services department nearest to you.
- This application will be sent to the State Social Welfare Director and the department’s Director-General for approval. This process normally takes two months and includes premise inspections from the local authority, the Health Department and the Fire and Rescue department. A one-year licence is issued upon approval.
Upon request, be prepared to provide additional information related to your homebased childcare service such as:
- Structural plan (floor plan, site plan, land grant, land assessment, land agreement, letter of support from neighbours, etc)
- Facilities provided
- Land usage (type of house that will be used to provide childcare services – a bungalow, flat, apartment, single or double-storey link house and location of the house such as fronting a main road, corner position, etc).
- Number of exits and windows
- Storeroom size
- Sick bay to segregate children with contagious diseases.
Requirements For Getting A Licence
Operational Requirements From The Social Welfare Services Department:
- The number of children at the premise must not exceed the stipulated available floor space per child, which is 3.5 square metres. This does not include the kitchen, storeroom, toilet, office and corridor space.
- There must not be more than nine children aged four years and above in a homebased childcare service.
- Must comply with the ratio of one childminder to five newborns. Or one childminder to 10 children between the ages of three and four years. Or one childminder to four disabled children aged below four.
- Must be 18 years and above and must have attended the basic 17-day Child Care Course approved by the Social Welfare Services Department within a year of being employed.
- Must have undergone a medical examination
- Must be adequate to meet the enrolment
- Must be safe for children and of appropriate height and size
- The premises must have different sections for various activities such as play, handicraft and reading.
- Each section must be strategically located so as not to hinder the supervisor or child minder’s supervision ability
- Books, accessories and other materials must be displayed within a child’s reach
Facilities For Babies’ Rooms
- Located near the toilet
- Comfortable and safe sleeping area with mattress provided
Requirements For Daily Activities
- Activities must support the children’s motor development
- List of activities submitted must comprise both indoor and outdoor activities for both teamwork and individual play
- Each activity must not exceed 30 minutes except for routines such as meals, nap time and baths.
Activities listed must be:
- Suitable for each age group
- Suitable for the children’s physical and mental capabilities
- Must be prepared for two age groups – newborns to two years; three and four year olds
- Submit a five-day menu plan for approval
Local Authority Requirements
Technical matters related to:
- Structural plan
- Space usage
- Land usage
- Ventilation and lighting
- Doors, windows and grills
- Sick bay
Fire And Rescue Services Department Requirements
Technical matters related to:
- Building structure
- Safety features
- Evacuation plan
- Fire fighting equipment
- Location of plug points
Health Department Requirements
Matters related to:
- Cleanliness of the premises
- Facilities such as taps, hand rails for handicapped children; toilet bowl and wash basin should be in good working condition
- Cleanliness and safety features of toilet, kitchen, wash area, garbage bin and drains
- Suitable and comfortable rest areas and facilities
- Suitable and comfortable play facilities
- Telecommunication facilities
- Medical care such as a first-aid box
- Pets – cats, dogs and birds are not allowed in the premises
- Food preparation such as the type of food allowed, procedures of cleaning milk bottles and utensils, condition of area where food is prepared and condition of food storage facilities
Getting Yourself And Your Family Prepared For Your Homebased Childcare Venture
Focus On Homebased Childcare Services
Take On A Professional Approach
Other Childcare Services To Consider