These are the requirements for family day care providers in local jurisdictions:

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Licensing required for all providers, who must have a home health and safety inspection, physical exam and written references. No more than five children may be cared for in a home, with no more than two infants under the age of 2. A responsible adult must be designated as a substitute caregiver as needed.

MARYLAND: Registration is required for all providers, who must have a home health and safety inspection, physical exam, three references and a check for any criminal record or pending charges against any residents of the household. County housing and zoning codes must be met. No more than six children may be cared for by the provider, with no more than two under the age of 2.

VIRGINIA: No licensing or regulation required for care of up to five children in a home, in addition to the provider's own children, though some local governments have their own requirements. Providers caring for 6 to 9 children must have a family day care home license from the state. A day care center license is required if 10 or more children receive care.

FAIRFAX COUNTY: No day care licensing requirements, but providers must get zoning approval and a business, professional and occupational license. The county's Office of Children maintains a voluntary listing of family day care providers which is sent to parents on request. To get on the list, providers agree to a background check with the state and local child protective services units for any record of child abuse or neglect by any adult living in the home. They also must get advisory fire and health visits, submit two character references from parents and pay a $5 annual fee.

ARLINGTON: Requires approval or licensing for all family day care providers, and maintains a list of approved providers. All providers must be able to read and write, have a telephone and submit three positive references and a physician's statement attesting to overall good health. They must also get a TB test, receive child care orientation, get a county health and safety inspection and receive a certificate of occupancy.

ALEXANDRIA: Registration required of all providers, who must have a home inspection and a criminal records check.

LOUDOUN COUNTY: Has a voluntary certification program. Certification requires a criminal record check through the state, a check with the state and local child protective services units for a record of child abuse or neglect, a health and safety home inspection, a TB test, a review of past employment, and two character references.

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY: Has voluntary certification involving a state criminal records check, child protective services check and a home health and safety inspection.