KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Three dozen children have been sent home Thursday from what the Hamblen County Sheriff has described as an unlicensed daycare.

The unlicensed daycare was operating on Jaybird Road in Morristown. Sheriff Esco Jarnigan said his office is assisting both the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services and the Tennessee Department of Human Services in the investigation.

The sheriff says 36 kids were in the home, some of them young, with only two adults providing care and supervision. All the kids are now back with their parents or guardians.

Tennessee does allow in-home daycare operations and they don’t necessarily require a license. However, the state says that unlicensed daycares can only care for fewer than five unrelated children.

Operators need to be licensed by the state if you’re caring for more than four unrelated children for three or more hours a day.

According to the state, operating a child care agency without the required license is a Class A misdemeanor criminal offense. Such offenses carry a sentence of not greater than 11 months, 29 days in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $2,500.

Suspected licensing violations or possible illegal child care operations can be reported by calling the Child Care Complaint hotline at 1-800-462-8261 or by emailing The state also provides a way to find child care provides through their Child Care Providers Map.