Child Care Center

A childcare facility in which care and educational activities are provided for 13 or more children two weeks to 16 years of age for more than three hours and less than 24 hours per day including daytime, evening, and night-time care, or which provides before and after school care for school-age children.

  • If any of the following conditions are met, the facility is considered a childcare center by OSFM:
    • Provides care & educational activities for any children as young as 2 weeks 
    • Sessions last between three hours and a full day
    • Care is provided for more than three hours and less than 24 hours per day
    • Meals are served
    • Napping takes place
  • If any of these conditions are met, the facility is considered a childcare center and must meet the building/fire code requirements for a Group I-4 Occupancy. 
  • Childcare centers, especially those with children under 30 months, must meet a greater fire and life safety burden than education occupancies. Because of the younger children and their inability to preserve their own life in the event of an emergency, more stringent requirements are in place to compensate.
  • Centers enrolling children 0-2 ½ years of age must have a room with a direct exit to the outside if the building is not sprinklered. 

For KDHE Licensing:

  • A qualified program director must be employed at the center full-time. Each unit must have qualified staff at all times when children are in care. Qualifications are stated by regulation and are based on the number of children in care.
  • Staff caring for children must have an understanding of children and complete certified first aid and CPR as well as childcare-related training in health and safety topics.
  • A KBI criminal history and child abuse and neglect background check is processed on all persons living, working or volunteering in the licensed childcare center facility.
  • State licensing fee $75 plus $1 for each child in the total capacity. For example, for a capacity of 60 children, the required initial and annual fee is $135. Local fees may also apply.
  • The childcare center is inspected to check compliance with regulations to protect the health, safety and well-being of the children in care at least once every 12 months.

KDHE Requirements

KDHE View Staff to Child Ratios (PDF)

KDHE Chart of Staff Qualification Options (PDF)

Facility owners and operators have the ultimate legal responsibility for the safety of all occupants within their facility. This responsibility cannot be transferred to any code authority, whether local or state.

The owner/operator has this responsibility:

  • regardless of whether or not any inspections have been performed by any authority, whether local or state.
  • regardless of whether or not a plan of correction has been accepted by any authority, whether local or state.
  • regardless of whether or not any plan review has been done by any authority, whether local or state.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal’s role is to provide life safety oversight. For certain types of facilities, this role is mandated by state law or Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The OSFM provides a risk management service. Assistance is provided to facility owners and operators to lower their potential risk from incidents that could endanger the occupants of the building. The OSFM identifies noncompliant life safety issues in new and existing facilities, and we communicate these issues to the owner/operator. It is the job of the owner/operator to provide appropriate solutions. 

New facilities shall comply with all applicable fire codes and regulations. Life Safety violations in new facilities are unacceptable.

 OSFM cannot: 

  • Provide design services to the owner/operator
  • Defer liability away from the owner/operator
  • Provide guidance on how to correct fire issues

Facility owners and operators are responsible for maintaining all documentation concerning their facility. They must maintain correspondence that relates to acceptance of non-conforming conditions and plan approval. This documentation may be requested by inspectors at later on-site visits. Code footprints are the best way to document acceptance for nonconforming conditions and to document the code status of a facility.

 OSFM recommends submittal for the following:

  • New construction, renovation, remodel of buildings, especially those that impact egress paths or exiting features
  • Fire alarm system
  • Fire sprinkler system


  • If a facility chooses to submit plans to OSFM for review, any identified deviations must either be clarified or corrected by the designer to the satisfaction of the reviewing authority prior to construction. It will not be an optional correction!
  • If a facility does not have OSFM review construction plans; the cost may be extensive if fire code violations are identified after-the-fact during a routine inspection. OSFM will require all noncompliant issues to be corrected. 

When plans for new construction are reviewed by OSFM, they are typically reviewed within 30 days. The focus of the OSFM is on compliance with the International Building Code with special attention placed on exiting, notification, detection, separation, and suppression. 


In areas where a building official is present, a plan review, a building permit, inspections, and a certificate of compliance may be required. In areas without a building official, an authorized representative of the 

Office of the State Fire Marshal may inspect for code compliance. The school owner and the designer or engineer shall work with local authorities towards resolving fire department access, water supply, zoning requirements, and drainage issues. Local authorities may require a school site to provide fire department access and adequate water supplies or allow the option for the building to be fully sprinklered to compensate for these requirements.

If a conflict in interpretation occurs between the local building or fire authorities and construction documents, the issue should be brought to the Office of the State Fire Marshal at 785-296-3401. We will try to interpret any unresolved issues.


Request for Review C.2.2.

Request for Review C.2.2.A.

  1. Prevention Division

    Physical Address
    800 SW Jackson Street
    Suite 104
    Topeka, KS 66612

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