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Maverick
Maverick, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 5766
Experience:  20 years of professional experience
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My husband and I want to start a summer baby-sitting service

Customer Question

My husband and I want to start a summer baby-sitting service on the beach (in a beach community). We would be working with 5-10 children at a time ages approx. 4-10. Do we need to be aware of any legal issues?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Business Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
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Expert:  Maverick replied 1 year ago.
Welcome! My name is Maverick. I very much enjoy what I do and I hope that you will benefit from this information.
Most experts will shy away from answering such an open-ended question as there are potentially 100s of issues that may come up. Thus, if you have a specific legal question that you want us to answer, please let us know.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I guess the main question is when does babysitting become "daycare" which we know requires licensing and insurance?If we are merely babysitting a small group of children on the beach/playground for a few hours at a time during July and August (with the intention of giving parents a few hours to enjoy their vacation in peace and quiet), with no facility and the parents' permission, are we opening ourselves up to any liabilities?And if so, is there any protection we should consider?Thanks!
Expert:  Maverick replied 1 year ago.
1. I guess the main question is when does babysitting become "daycare" which we know requires licensing and insurance?
Under the provisions of the Manual of Requirements for Child Care Centers (N.J.A.C.10:122) if you are caring for six or more children below 13 years of age is required to secure a license from the Office of Licensing in the Department of Children and Families, unless the program is exempt by law.
See 10:122-1.2(d) for a list of these exemptions:
http://www.nj.gov/dcf/providers/licensing/laws/CCCmanual.pdf
2. If we are merely babysitting a small group of children on the beach/playground for a few hours at a time during July and August (with the intention of giving parents a few hours to enjoy their vacation in peace and quiet), with no facility and the parents' permission, are we opening ourselves up to any liabilities?
Yes, any time you care for someone else's children whether as a baby sitter or in a formal day care facility you are held to the standard of reasonable care. So at a minimum you could be sued for negligence.
3. And if so, is there any protection we should consider?
You should consider buying liability insurance; see link below for an example:
http://www.nationwide.com/day-care-insurance-hi.jsp
You would also want to consider opening the business under an S-corporation.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, I tried to follow up last week, did you not receive it? My final follow up questions were...Since NJ states that a license shall be required for a "facility" of 6 children or more. We have no facility and are simply offering babysitting services on the beach: in essence providing parents the chance to take a short break from their kids to enjoy themselves and each other when they're hanging out on the beach by offering a very experienced caretaker to watch their kids for a little while. If so are we OK to go without the license as long as we don't go over 5 kids per group?Also, thanks for the liability suggestion. We will look into that. Thanks!
Expert:  Maverick replied 1 year ago.
Not sure what happened but as you can see from the log above, I did not receive your follow-up questions until just now.
Since NJ states that a license shall be required for a "facility" of 6 children or more. We have no facility and are simply offering babysitting services on the beach: in essence providing parents the chance to take a short break from their kids to enjoy themselves and each other when they're hanging out on the beach by offering a very experienced caretaker to watch their kids for a little while. If so are we OK to go without the license as long as we don't go over 5 kids per group?
1. The relevant law states that:
(h) When a person intends to care for six or more children under 13 years of age, he or she shall apply for and secure from the Office of Licensing a license to operate a child care center.
(a) "Child care center" or "center" means any home or facility, by whatever name known, which is maintained for the care, development or supervision of six or more children under 13 years of age who attend for less than 24 hours a day.
So, yes, your safest bet is to not go over 5 kids per group. While you also may have exception that come into play because of you "no facility" arguments, as you can tell from reading the law, those are murky to say the least.
(c) The term, child care center, shall not include the following programs, since they do not meet the definition of a child care center:
1. A program serving fewer than six children who are below 13 years of age;
2. A program, such as that located in a bowling alley, health spa or other
facility, in which: 10:122-1.2 Definition of child care center
i. Each child attends on a drop-in basis for no more than two hours;
and
ii. The parent of each child attending the program is in the same
building, is readily accessible at all times on an on-call basis, and is able to resume control of the child immediately;
3. A child care program operating within a geographic area, enclave or facility that is owned and/or operated by the Federal government;
5. Programs that offer activities for children who attend at their own discretion on an "open door" basis, where there is no agreement, written or implied, between the program and the parent for the program to assume responsibility for the care of the child; and
6. A program offering child care on an ad hoc, sporadic and isolated basis in order to meet an emergency or special need, such as during emergency school closings, conferences or training sessions.
You program appears to meet some but not all of the requirements of each of the above other exceptions. For example, if the beach is on a federally owned and operated park, you may not need a license.

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