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Zoning for Family Day Care

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The child care delivery system in the United States is characterized by tremendous diversity. It includes many program types, many program sponsors, and -- in the absence of uniform federal regulation -- a patchwork of varied state requirements. The most common components of state child care delivery systems are resource and referral agencies ("R & Rs"), child care centers, family day care homes, and care in the parents' home (referred to as "in-home care").

Currently, the most widely used form of out-of-home care is family day care. Many parents prefer the home-like setting, convenience, flexibility and cost-effectiveness that family day care homes can offer. It is called "family day care" because it is provided in a family home -- that of the provider's. ...

Despite the increasing demand for family day care homes, they remain in short supply. The reason for this, in all too many communities, is because of barriers found in the local zoning ordinance.

Local zoning ordinances can limit the supply of licensed family day care homes in several ways: (1) by prohibiting family day care in residential areas; (2) by failing to define family day care in the local zoning ordinance; and (3) by failing to draft local ordinances that are consistent with state licensing laws and regulations. ...

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