Child Care Issues

Religiously Exempt Centers Are Safe

Virginia Child Abuse Data

VDOE Notices and Forms for Religiously Exempt Childcare Providers

ODACS frequenlty publishes memoranda with information about current legal and regulatory topics related to Religiously Exempt Childcare Centers.  Visit this page from time to time to view the most up-to-date information.


July 22, 2023 - ODACS Update about June 20 VDOE Memo

June 26, 2023 - ODACS Update on Serious Physical Injury Reporting for Religiously Exempt Child Care Centers

June 20, 2023 - VDOE Memo to Religiously Exempt Child Day Centers; 2023 Legislation


July 15, 2022 - An Open Letter to Governor Youngkin; ODACS Concerns about Virginia Childcare Policy

July 6, 2022 - ODACS Update about New Law Regarding the Administration of Ephinephrine

June 17, 2022 - ODACS Update on Serious Physical Injury Reporting for Religiously Exempt Child Care Centers


November 15, 2021 - ODACS Update on ARPA Child Care Stabilization Grant

May 20, 2021 - ODACS Update on Major Child Care Policy Shift Coming to Virginia on July 1

May 7, 2021 - VDSS Memo on Transition of Child Care Programs from VDSS to VDOE


September 24, 2020 - ODACS Summary of VDSS Updated Phase III Childcare Guidance

September 24, 2020 - VDSS Updated Phase III Childcare Guidance, Group Size Limitations Lifted

June 3 - ODACS Update on VDSS Childcare Guidance for Phase II

June 3 - VDSS Childcare Guidance for Phase II of COVID-19 Reopening

May 14 - ODACS Update on VDSS Childcare Guidance for Phase I

May 13 - VDSS Childcare Guidance for Phase I of COVID-19 Reopening

May 13 - CDC Guidance for Childcare Programs That Remain Open

April 9 - Updated VDSS COVID-19 FAQ About Child Care

April 9 - Child Care Centers, Status as Essential Business

April 7 - Temporary Procedures for VDSS Licensing Inspections

March 31 - ODACS Update on Recent Government COVID-19 Actions

March 31 - Updated VDSS and VDOE Joint Guidance on School Closure

March 30 - VDSS FAQ about Childcare Safety During COVID-19

March 27 - How to Get Fingerprint Background Checks if Fieldprint Office Is Closed

March 24 - ODACS Update on VDSS and VDOE COVID-19 School Closure Guidance

March 24 - VDSS and VDOE Joint Guidance on School Closure

March 24 - VDOE School Closure FAQ

March 24 - Virginia Child Care Provider Status Survey

March 19 - ODACS Q&A Regarding VDSS COVID-19 Guidance

March 19 - VDSS Guidance for Childcare During COVID-19 Emergency


September 18 - VDSS Changes Ratio Policy!

August 2 - Reporting of Deaths and Serious Physical Injuries

July 12 - New Staff-Child Ratios for RECDC's; Interpreting the Ratio Law

July 5 - Sample "Under the Auspices" Language for Church-run Preschools and Daycares

June 22 - Update on Several VDSS June Memos

June 21 - Questions Submitted to VDSS Regarding the Disposition of Some Fingerprint Background Checks

May 31 - New Requirements for RECDC's Effective July 1

April 10 - Questions Submitted to VDSS Regarding Certain New Requirements for RECDC's

January 21 - General Assembly Report

January 9 - General Assembly Report


April 24 - How SB 539 Will Affect ODACS Ministries

March 28 - Fingerprint Background Check Implementation, Answer Received from Attorney General's Office

March 11 - Fingerprint Background Check Implementation, Awaiting Answer from Attorney General's Office

February 27 - Fingerprint Background Check Implementation, Self-Pay Memo

February 9 - General Assembly Report

February 5 - General Assembly Report

January 25 - Fingerprint Background Check Implementation, Awaiting Answer from Attorney General's Office

January 19 - General Assembly Report


December 26 - Serious Injury Reporting Request from VDSS

December 11 - Advising Churches to Decline Government Subsidy of Background Checks

December 5 - Inappropriate VDSS Requests for Church Ministry Information

November 22 - Does Kindergarten Fall Under Childcare Licensure Law?

November 20 - Background Check and Serious Physical Injury Reporting Memo

2016 Daycare Issues

During the 2016 legislative session, the Senate responded to increased calls for repeal or further regulation of Virginia's licensure exemptions by passing a bill calling for a study of all exemptions from child care licensure.  ODACS was named in the bill as a stakeholder that must be consulted.

SJ 63; Commissioning a Study by DSS of All Child Care Licensure Exemptions

One of the arguments central to ODACS's defense of the Religious Exemption is that a child in a Religious Exempt Child Day Center is statistically much safer than a child in a licensed center.

Virginia Daycare Child Abuse Data, 2009-2014

The licensure exemption portion of Virginia's Code includes three important sections.

63.2-1715 - All Exemptions from Child Care Licensure
63.2-1716 - The Religious Exemption from Licensure for Church-run Ministries
63.2-1717 - Licensure Exemption for Private Accredited Preschools

2015 Daycare Issues

HB 1570 - Increased State and Federal Regulation of Virginia Daycares

Among the many provisions of HB 1570 were those ostensibly to improve child safety in religious exempt (church-operated) daycares.  ODACS opposed these provisions successfully; the General Assembly removed them from the bill, and it then passed.  The governor has amended the bill to include provisions that essentially replace and expand the provisions with which ODACS was originally concerned.  ODACS OPPOSES THE GOVERNOR'S AMENDMENTS

ODACS Talking Points

Sample Letter

Virginia DSS Child Abuse Report, July 2013 to June 2014

Washington Post Article, Advocating Stronger Standards in Child Day Homes

Blog Post, Addressing Incorrect Claims in the WP Article

Washington Post Article, Documenting Tragic Deaths in Licensed and Unlicensed Virginia Daycares


Other Helpful Links

Information for Religiously Exempt Child Day Centers

MAT Web Page

AACS Washington Flyer Special Edition - Preschool Alert

Department of Education Another "Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge"

Proposed Regulations      ODACS Public Comment, June, 2013

Submit Public Comment

White House Issues "Plan for Early Education for All Americans"

In an effort to expand federal influence and power over America's preschools, the White House has issued its Plan for Early Education for All Americans.  Initial funding for the plan would involve a federal-state partnership, but the plan would eventually become an unfunded mandate on states.  The Administration seeks to dramatically increase the number of children in government funded preschool programs.  Elements of the plan include preschool standards of learning, government data collection on each child, a "rigorous curriculum," and federally-funded home visits.  ODACS OPPOSES FEDERAL INTERVENTION IN AMERICA'S PRESCHOOLS.

Sample Preschool Letter, House, 2013

Sample Preschool Letter, Senate, 2013

AACS Issue Brief, Increased Federal Role in Preschool

Heritage Foundation - Articles about the Universal Preschool Agenda

DOE Announces Second Round of Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge!

Issues from Previous Years

Should Religiously Exempt Day Care Centers Be Represented on the Board of Social Services?

In 2010 Governor Bob McDonnell formed a Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring.  The purpose of the Commission was to find ways to streamline state government in the face of current budgetary challenges.  The Commission advised the governor regarding government functions that could be consolidated or eliminated altogether in order to make government more efficient.

ODACS supported the work that Governor McDonnell and the Commission did and agreed that government must be made smaller and more efficient.  One particular recommendation of the Commission, however, was of important concern to ODACS - the elimination of the Virginia Child Day Care Council.  For a number of years, this Council had written regulations to which Virginia's day care centers, both those licensed and those operating under a religious exemption from licensure, must adhere.  The Commission recommended that the function of the Child Day Care Council be transferred to the Board of Social Services.

ODACS asked the Governor and the General Assembly to create two new seats on the Board of Social Services, one representing licensed day care centers and one representing religiously exempt day care centers.  Creating a new seat for religiously exempt centers was critical to our efforts to preserve our religious liberty through the religious exemption from licensure.

Both the Senate and the House of Delegates passed amendments to the administrations bills creating the two new seats.

ODACS Request for Specific Language in HB 1291 and SB 678

Virginia Government Reform Web Site

Government Reform Commission - Report to the Governor

ODACS Comment - Word

ODACS Comment - PDF

Virginia Declines Federal Pre-K Funding

October 29, 2011

Governor Bob McDonnell announced recently that Virginia will not apply for $60 million in federal Pre-K funding under the latest round of Race to the Top competitive grants.  This third round of competitive grants offered by the U. S. Department of Education to the states represents an attempt by the federal government to gain a large measure of control over all preschool programs in the country, including church day cares.  Please thank Governor McDonnell for his decision, and express to members of the Virgnia State Board of Education your support of the decision!  Use thesePreschool Girl Painting helpful links to learn more.

News Article about Governor McDonnell's Decision

Action Alert Letter

Executive Summary of Race to the Top

ODACS Public Comment

AACS Public Comment

Virginia State Board of Education, Home Page

The following link is to the 1988 decision of the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals regarding the consitutionality of a Virginia law allowing church day cares to operate without a license from the state.  ODACS was very much involved in the case, since several ODACS ministries were listed as defendants.

1988 Day Care Decision