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Day Care and Institutional Sanitation and Safety

Prevent the transmission of communicable disease and to ensure the safety of individuals utilizing or visiting institutions in Larimer County.

Services Provided:

  • Conduct inspection of public and private schools, child care operations, penal facilities and other institutions
  • Evaluate the preparation and service of food, the sanitation and genral housekeeping and disease and injury control measures in place within the facility
  • Evaluate compliance with applicable regulations
  • Provide education and resouce materials for institutional facilities (Infection Prevention & Universal Precautions Training for Child Care Providers)

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do child care operations need a license?
    In general, all child care operations caring for more than two unrelated children are required by state law to be licensed by Colorado Department of Human Services. Before Human Services can approve a child care license application for a child care center, preschool, school-age child care program, children's camp, day treatment center, or residential child care center the applicant must obtain approval from the local health department, fire department, building department and planning/zoning. Programs for religious instruction and operations such as health clubs where parents are at the same site as their children are not required to hold child care licenses.
  2. Are home day care operations inspected by the health department?
    No, family child care homes that care for fewer than seven children in a place of residence and family foster homes are not required to have health department inspections.
  3. What kinds of child care operations does the health department inspect?
    The health department inspects child care operations that provide care for seven or more children or provide 24 hour care for children. These operations include large child care centers, preschools, before and after school programs, day camps, seasonal children's camps, residential child care facilities, group homes and day treatment centers.
  4. How often does the heath department inspect child care operations?
    Inspection frequencies very from one to two times a year. Since disease outbreaks are often associated with diapered children and children who attend child care for a full day, child care operations that care for infants and toddlers or provide care for more than three and a half hours a day are to be inspected two times a year. Preschools, before and after school programs, summer camps, and other similar types of child care operations are to be inspected once a year.
  5. What does the health department look for when they conduct an inspection?
    Health department inspections evaluate hygienic practices including diaper changing procedures and hand washing, food preparation and service procedures, general cleaning and sanitizing, maintenance of facilities, children's immunizations, medication dispensing protocols and playgrounds. Facilities such as camps, that rely on noncommunity water systems and individual sewage disposal systems are also inspected for proper operation of these systems.
  6. Are inspection reports available to the public for review?
    Yes, both health department and human services inspection reports are public documents. State child care regulations require child care operations to make available the most recent health department and human service inspection reports at their establishments.
  7. How do I open a child care operation?
    Contact Colorado Department of Human Services at (303) 866-5958 and make application. Approval from the heath department, fire department, building department and planning and zoning will be required. For child care operations that will be newly constructed plans should be submitted to the health department for review before starting construction. Many building departments will not release building permits for new child centers until the health department "signs off" on the permit application.
  8. Can parents furnish food for children in the center?
    Parents may furnish meals for their child only. However, non-potentially hazardous snacks obtained from commercial sources may be provided for children other than their own. For example, a parent may purchase pre-made cupcakes or cookies from a grocery store to celebrate a child's birthday.
  9. Are there regulations that schools must follow?
    Yes, The Rules and Regulations Governing Schools in the State of Colorado applies to all schools Kindergarten through grade 12. Schools are inspected by the local health department to determine compliance with the regulations. Areas inspected include condition of general grounds, safety of water supply, proper sewage and refuse disposal, control of insects/rodents/classroom animals, plumbing, safety of equipment and supplies, food service, lab/art/vocational hazards, health services, and proper operation of mechanical systems.
  10. Are certain materials prohibited from school labs?
    Yes. As of March 2002, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has amended the regulations to include listings of prohibited and restricted chemicals for school laboratories. These may be found in Appendices A, B, and B2 of Rules and Regulations Governing Schools in the State of Colorado.

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Background Image: Rocky Mountain National Park by Sue Burke. All rights reserved.