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Process to Apply for a Temporary Certificate to Operate a School-Age Child Care Facility during COVID-19 Pandemic

Effective August 1, 2020, applications will be available for organizations interested in providing school time care, e-learning care, virtual learning care, and/or extended school time care due to schools not providing in-classroom instruction. The Department of Social Services (DSS) must grant approval for temporary child care operations.  Organizations that qualify may be issued a “Certificate of Temporary Operation” in lieu of full licensure. 

NOTE: If you already have a license or registration with us, you are not eligible for this process.  Please request to expand your capacity to accept the additional children. 

Certificates will only be granted to organizations that operate or wish to operate in school districts that are not providing five days of in-classroom instruction as an option available to all children.  Certificates of Temporary Operation will be subject to the following conditions:

  • Available for organizations serving school-aged children only (five years of age and older).  All other age groups must be licensed unless otherwise exempted under state law.  If you plan to care for children under 5, you must sign up for Orientation to apply for a License to Operate a Child Care facility.
  • Limited to organizations with a commercial space to care for children.  No jump houses or trampoline parks will be allowed.  No residences will be allowed.
  • A Central Registry check, Sex Offender Registry check, and SLED Catch report must be completed for each child care staff and volunteer.
  • The Director must be 21 years of age, and child care staff and volunteers must be 18 years of age or older.  Volunteers are subject to the same background check requirements as paid staff.
  • Maintain appropriate staff:child ratios as outlined in child care licensing regulations (SC Code of Regulations, § 114-504).
  • Organizations must follow DHEC and CDC guidance regarding minimizing the potential for transmission and spread of COVID-19, and reporting exposures to DHEC and DSS.
  • The space must have had a health and fire marshal inspection from their local health and safety inspectors.  DSS will complete a modified inspection if one has not been completed within the past two years.
  • Basic fire safety equipment (fire extinguisher and smoke detectors) must be available onsite.
  • At least two staff must be onsite at all times.
  • Someone with CPR/First Aid certification must be onsite at all times.

Specific information on the application is listed below. 

License-exempt providers enrolled in ABC Quality will be granted a Certificate of Temporary Operation once an application is received.

A Certificate of Temporary Operation will be granted for a maximum of 90 days and may be extended up to four times at the discretion of the Department. 

For group child care homes and family child care homes, you must apply for a license or registration.  


Below is the process that you will follow in order to apply for a Certificate of Temporary Operation of a school-age child care during COVID-19, the forms necessary for the application, and other resources to assist with your operation. 

Application Process

1. Complete the online application here.  Keep a record of the Reference number you are assigned at the end of the application.  All emails sent to Child Care Licensing must have that reference number attached for identification purposes. 

2. Complete a SLED Catch for all staff that will be working in the facility.  All documentation for each staff member must be sent with application.

  • There are three responses you may receive from SLED that will need to be turned in with the application.
    • a. No Arrest Data Sheet
    • b. Arrest Data Sheet and Rap Sheet
    • c. Special Processing Sheet - this will require further contact with SLED.

3. Complete a Central Registry Check for all staff that will be working in the facility.  The Central Registry is $8 per person.  You can send a check or money order to the address on the form or pay online here. For identification during online payment use the CC# listed on the form. 

4. Take pictures of the areas that you will be caring for children, the bathrooms, and (if you are providing meals) the kitchen. 

5. Complete the following documents:

For information on how to electronically fill a PDF document, click here.

All documents required for the application to temporarily operate can be emailed to

Helpful Hints

  • No Corporal Punishment allowed in the facility.
  • If transporting the children away from the facility permission slips must be kept in file. 
  • An accurate method of recording the children entering and exiting the facility must be kept.