110-106. Religious sponsored child care facilities.

(a) The term "religious sponsored child care facility" as used in this section shall include any child care facility or summer day camp operated by a church, synagogue or school of religious charter.

(b) Procedure Regarding Religious Sponsored Child Care Facilities. -

(1) Religious sponsored child care facilities shall file with the Department a notice of intent to operate a child care facility and the date it will begin operation at least 30 days prior to that date. Within 30 days after beginning operation, the facility shall provide to the Department written reports and supporting data which show the facility is in compliance with applicable provisions of G.S. 110-91. After the religious sponsored child care facility has filed this information with the Department, the facility shall be visited by a representative of the Department to ensure compliance with the applicable provisions of G.S. 110-91.

(2) Each religious sponsored child care facility shall file with the Department a report indicating that it meets the minimum standards for facilities as provided in the applicable provisions of G.S. 110-91 as required by the Department. The reports shall be in accordance with rules adopted by the Commission. Each religious sponsored child care facility shall be responsible for supplying with its report the necessary supporting data to show conformity with those minimum standards, including reports from the local and district health departments, local building inspectors, local firemen, volunteer firemen, and other, on forms which shall be provided by the Department.

(3) It shall be the responsibility of the Department to notify the facility if it fails to meet the minimum requirements. The Secretary shall be responsible for carrying out the enforcement provisions provided by the General Assembly in Article 7 of Chapter 110 including inspection to ensure compliance. The Secretary may issue an order requiring a religious sponsored child care facility which fails to meet the standards established pursuant to this Article to cease operating. A religious sponsored child care facility may request a hearing to determine if it is in compliance with the applicable provisions of G.S. 110-91. If the Secretary determines that it is not, the Secretary may order the facility to cease operation until it is in compliance.

(4) Religious sponsored child care facilities including summer day camps shall be exempt from the requirement that they obtain a license and that the license be displayed and shall be exempt from any subsequent rule or regulatory program not dealing specifically with the minimum standards as provided in the applicable provisions of G.S. 110-91. Nothing in this Article shall be interpreted to allow the State to regulate or otherwise interfere with the religious training offered as a part of any religious sponsored child care program. Nothing in this Article shall prohibit any religious sponsored child care facility from becoming licensed by the State if it so chooses.

(5) Religious sponsored child care facilities found to be in violation of the applicable provisions of G.S. 110-91 shall be subject to the injunctive provisions of G.S. 110-104, except that they may not be enjoined for operating without a license. The Secretary may seek an injunction against any religious sponsored child care facility under the conditions specified in G.S. 110-104 with the above exception and when any religious sponsored child care facility operates without submitting the required forms and following the procedures required by this Article.

(c) G.S. 110-91(8), 110-91(11), 110-91(12) do not apply to religious sponsored child care facilities, and these facilities are exempt from any requirements prescribed by subsection (b) of this section that arise out of these provisions.

(d) No person shall be an operator of nor be employed in a religious sponsored child care facility who has been convicted of a crime involving child neglect, child abuse, or moral turpitude, or who is a habitually excessive user of alcohol or who illegally uses narcotic or other impairing drugs, or who is mentally or emotionally impaired to an extent that may be injurious to children.

(e) Each religious sponsored child care facility shall be under the direction or supervision of a literate person at least 21 years of age. All staff counted toward meeting the required staff/child ratio shall be at least 16 years old, provided that persons younger than 18 years old work under the direct supervision of a literate staff person at least 21 years old. Effective January 1, 1998, a person operating a religious sponsored child care home must be at least 21 years old and literate. Persons operating religious sponsored child care homes prior to January 1, 1998, shall be at least 18 years old and literate. The definition of literate in G.S. 110-91(8) shall apply to this subsection. (1983, c. 283, ss. 1, 2; 1985, c. 757, ss. 155(p), 156(k); 1987, c. 788, s. 20; 1997-506, s. 26.)