Day-care Facilities


115.01    Title

115.02    Authority and jurisdiction

115.03    Purpose

115.04    Definitions

115.05    Requirements

115.06    Qualifications and responsibilities

115.07    Administration; appeals; fees

115.99    Penalty

115.01 TITLE.

This chapter shall be known as “The Residential Child Care Facilities Regulations of the City of Rio Rancho” and is referred to elsewhere herein as “these regulations.” The City of Rio Rancho shall hereafter be referred to as “the city.”

(Ord. 02-013)


These regulations govern the permitting of residential facilities providing childcare to children in the city and are promulgated pursuant to the city’s powers in § 1.02 of the Charter. All residential child care facilities are subject to the provisions of this chapter and, if applicable, to the “Family Child Care Homes” (FCCH) of the State of New Mexico’s “Child Care Licensing” regulations, Title 8, Chapter 16, Part 2 of the New Mexico Administrative Code.

(Ord. 02-013)

115.03 PURPOSE.

These regulations establish standards and procedures for the permitting of facilities and caregivers who provide childcare. These standards and procedures: establish minimum requirements for permitting facilities providing care to non-resident children in order to protect the health, safety, and development of the children; monitor the facility for compliance with these regulations through inspections to identify areas that could be dangerous or harmful to children, and encourage the establishment and maintenance of residential child care home facilities that provide a humane, safe, and developmentally appropriate environment.

(Ord. 02-013)


For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.

CAREGIVER. Means an adult, at least 18 years of age, who provides direct care, services, and supervision to the children in a facility. The primary caregiver must be a resident of the facility and must be present at all times, unless replaced by a substitute caregiver when a personal emergency requires.

CAREGIVER’S OWN CHILDREN. Means natural, adopted, and foster children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews who live in the facility.

CHILD. Means a person who has not attained the age of 18 years.

FACILITY. Means a private residence permitted pursuant to this chapter, where children receive care, services, and supervision.

RESIDENTIAL CHILD CARE. Means care, services, and supervision which are provided in a private residence to a maximum of 12 children for a period of less than 24 hours of any given day. The primary caregiver will reside in the home.

INDOOR ACTIVITY AREA. Means a designated area set aside for play or recreational purposes, excluding sanitary and dining facilities. Such area need not be contiguous space.

PERMIT. Means a conditional use permit as approved by the Planning and Zoning Board or an administrative permit as approved by the Department of City Development. Such permit is not a substitute for, or creates compliance with the requirements of §§ 110.01 et seq.

PREMISES. Means all parts of the buildings, grounds, equipment, all structures, and vehicles of a facility permitted pursuant to this chapter.

SUPERVISION. Means the direct observation and guidance of children at all times and requires being physically present with them.

(Ord. 02-013)


(A) Permit requirements. All applicants providing care for children in their home shall obtain a city permit.

(B) All individuals providing care for five or more children shall also obtain state licensure. Pursuant to either a conditional use permit or an administrative permit issued by the city, the applicant shall, if applicable, proceed with state licensing, which may include fingerprinting and background checks. The applicant shall provide the city with proof of state licensure. Failure to submit proof of state licensure within 60 days of conditional use permit or administrative permit approval, without just cause, shall be grounds for revocation of the permit.

(C) All applicants providing care for less than five children shall be subject to an annual criminal history background check as a part of the city’s application and annual renewal process for an administrative permit. In evaluating criminal history, the provisions of 8.8.3 NMAC (Children Youth, and Families General Provisions Governing Criminal Records Check and Employment History Verification) as amended, are applicable to applicants providing care for less than five children. Facilities with a capacity of four or less shall be permitted in accordance with this chapter.

(D) Capacity of a facility. The capacity of a facility permitted pursuant to this chapter shall be as follows:

(1) A facility must have 35 square feet of activity and sleeping space per child, excluding bathrooms, kitchens, hall and other built-in fixtures and offsets, with a total capacity limited to no more than 12 children.

(2) Outdoor play area must be on the premises of the facility and shall be a minimum of 60 square feet per child. The outdoor play area must have a fence at least 4 feet in height with at least one latched gate available for emergency exit. The fence must enclose the outdoor play area.

(3) All children on the premises, including the caregiver’s own children under the age of six, shall be counted in determining the capacity of the home.

(4) At any time, a facility will have no more than 2 children under the age of two years, if the total capacity is 6 or less. A facility will have no more than 4 children under age two if the total capacity is 7 to 12 and has 2 caregivers.

(5) The caregiver shall be physically present and be involved in the care of nonresident children at all times except in the case of any emergency, in which case, the emergency caregiver shall be physically present and involved in the care of nonresident children at all times.

(6) Each facility shall have an emergency caregiver that may substitute for the primary caregiver for a short period of time in the event of an emergency. The name of the emergency caregiver shall be provided to the city at the time of application. A caregiver is responsible for notifying the city of a change in emergency caregiver.

(Ord. 02-013)


The following requirements apply in addition to any state regulation:

(A) A caregiver will maintain the home, premise equipment in safe condition. The home and premises must be clear and free of debris or other potentially dangerous hazards. All equipment must be kept in good repair.

(B) A caregiver must provide safe playing areas inside and outside the home.

(C) Outdoor play areas for children shall be separate from outdoor play areas for pets.

(D) A caregiver will keep all poisons, toxic materials, cleaning substances, alcohol, and sharp and pointed objects in a storage area inaccessible to children.

(E) A caregiver will post emergency numbers for fire, police, fire department, ambulance, Poison Control Center and others by telephone.

(F) A caregiver will store all firearms in a locked area inaccessible to children.

(G) The facility shall have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers as required by the city ordinances, visible and readily available for use. Combustible and flammable materials shall be stored in a safe area away from water heater rooms, furnace rooms, or laundry rooms. In case of fire, the caregiver’s first responsibility is to evacuate the children.

(H) The caregiver will routinely have fire drills to teach the children evacuation routes.

(I) The home will have a first aid kit stored in a convenient place inaccessible to children.

(J) A caregiver will ensure that all pets in the home are inoculated as required by city ordinances and will keep proof of inoculations.

(K) Caregivers shall:

(1) Post the current list of Notifiable Diseases and Communicable Diseases published by the Office of Epidemiology of the New Mexico Department of Health;

(2) Make the current list available to parents or guardians of children under their care;

(3) Notify the State Department of Health of occurrences of any disease on the list among any caregiver, facility residents, or the children under their supervision; and

(4) Require that any child obtain a physician’s release before returning to a facility after diagnosis and treatment of any disease on the list.

(L) All caregivers must immediately report to the appropriate agency any symptoms of abuse or neglect.

(M) At least one person training in first aid and CPR shall be on duty at the facility at all times.

(Ord. 02-013)


(A) Administrative official. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the City Development Director or his representative shall administer and enforce these regulations, including the inspection of premises and the issuance of permits authorized in this chapter.

(B) Enforcement.

(1) By applying for a permit or the renewal thereof, the permittee grants the City Development Department the right to enter the premises and inspect the facility, both while the permit is being processed and, if permitted, at any time during the permit period. Permits are renewed by the annual renewal of a business registration and annual criminal history background check. Inspections subsequent to the initial permit inspection shall be made unannounced and no less frequently than once per year. Failure to allow access to the facility to an authorized city representative may result in revocation or suspension of a permit, or denial of an initial or renewal application.

(2) The City Development Department may institute any appropriate action or proceeding whenever there is probable cause to believe human health and safety may need to be protected.

(3) Conditional use. A residential child care facility with a capacity of seven or more, may be added as a conditional use in the R-1, R-2, R-3, M-H, A-R, and E-1 Zones within R.O.1987, 9-1-5, 9-1-6, 9-1-7, 9-1-8, 9-1-13 and 9-1-15, respectively. A conditional use permit is also required in any SU/Special Use Residential Zone.

(4) Permissive use. Subject to the provisions of § 115.05 requiring a permit, a residential child care facility with a capacity of six or less, is a permissive use in the R-1, R-2, R-3, M-H, A-R, and E-1 Zones within R.O. 1987, 9-1-5, 9-1-6, 9-1-7, 9-1-8, 9-1-13, and 9-1-15, respectively. An administrative permit is also required in any SU/Special Use Residential Zone.

(C) Nonconforming residential child care facilities. Childcare services provided in private residences approved by the city prior to adoption of this chapter shall have one year within the adoption date of this chapter to comply with the requirements herein. After the one year grace period, all non-conforming residential child care facilities operating within the city shall be subject to the enforcement provisions contained in § 115.07.

(D) Appeals. Appeal of any action or decision by the City Development Department or the Planning and Zoning Board under this chapter may be filed pursuant to the provisions of §§ 150.01 et seq.

(E) Fees. Fees will be assessed pursuant to the relevant procedures in effect at the time of permit application.

(Ord. 02-013)

115.99 PENALTY.

(A) Complaint. Any person aggrieved by a violation or apparent violation of this chapter may file a written complaint with the City Development Department, which shall immediately investigate such complaint and take legal action to have the violation penalized and removed, if such violation is found to exist.

(B) Notification. Whenever the City Development Department shall find probable cause to believe violation of any of the provisions of this chapter exists, it shall notify the person responsible for the alleged violation in writing and shall order, where feasible and practical, the necessary correction to be made within a period of 30 days. Violations of this chapter may subject the permit holder to an immediate suspension pending any hearing on a revocation of the permit.

(C) Penalty. Failure to comply with all the provisions of this chapter, upon conviction, shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $500, or imprisonment in jail for a period of not more than 30 days, or both such fine and imprisonment.

(D) Grounds for suspension or revocation of permit. A permit may be suspended or revoked, or an initial application denied, after notification and/or hearing for any one of the following reasons:

(1) Violation of any provision of this chapter.

(2) Misrepresentation or falsification of any information on application forms or other required documents.

(3) Conviction for any criminal conduct which would disqualify a permittee from obtaining a permit under the provisions of NMAC § 8.8.3 (Children, Youth, and Families General Provisions Governing Criminal Records Checks and Employment History Verification), as amended.

(Ord. 02-013)