Religious Exempt Provider Requirements

In accordance with section 402.306, Florida Statutes, the Department recognizes and exempts from licensure those religiously-affiliated programs that meet the following statutory requirements:

  • The provisions of ss. 402.301-402.319, except for the requirements regarding screening of child care personnel, shall not apply to a child care facility which is an integral part of church or parochial schools conducting regularly scheduled classes, courses of study, or educational programs accredited by, or by a member of, an organization which publishes and requires compliance with its standards for health, safety, and sanitation. However, such facilities shall meet minimum requirements of the applicable local governing body as to health, sanitation, and safety and shall meet the screening requirements pursuant to ss. 402.305 and 402.3055. Failure by a facility to comply with such screening requirements shall result in the loss of the facility's exemption from licensure.
  • Any county or city with state or local child care licensing programs in existence on July 1, 1974, will continue to license the child care facilities as covered by such programs, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1), until and unless the licensing agency makes a determination to exempt them.
  • Any child care facility covered by the exemption provisions of subsection (1), but desiring to be included in this act, is authorized to do so by submitting notification to the Department of Children and Families. Once licensed, such facility cannot withdraw from the act and continue to operate.

Religious Exemption through the Department does not apply to the following counties that are regulated by a Local Licensing Authority.

  • Broward
  • Hillsborough
  • Palm Beach
  • Pinellas
  • Sarasota

For more information on requirements for faith-based providers in these counties, please contact the Local Licensing Authority.

Applying for Religious Exemption

A Religious Exempt provider is required to provide information annually as part of the application process, to include:

  1. Copy of current accreditation certificate from an accrediting agency that has published health and safety standards
  2. Proof of the program’s affiliation with a church or parochial school
  3. Annual statement via the Department’s online application

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Please Note:  The Religious Exemption application process is currently changing in order to make the process more user friendly. Please follow the instructions and links below in order to ensure your Application is received and processed timely. If you should have any questions regarding these changes, call 850-488-4900.

Religious Exemption Application

Please contact the Child Care Program Office at (850) 488-4900 or email Child Care Licensing for further information on religious exemption.