Starting a Family Child Care Program

Apply for a License

Most people who provide child care in their home are legally required to have a license. Licensure helps ensure that child care providers meet minimum standards to protect the health and safety of the children in care. State law allows only a few limited circumstances under which a person can operate a child care program in their own home without a license.

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Licensing Steps

There are several steps to apply for and receive a license. Family child care programs are licensed by each county or tribe, so the process may vary depending on where you live.



Your county or tribe may require you to attend an orientation or informational meeting before receiving a license application. The orientation meeting will give you a broad overview of the licensing process, licensing regulations, and next steps if you decide to
apply for a license.

Contact Your County or Tribal Licensor




Reach out to your county or tribe’s licensing agency to inquire about the licensing process and receive application materials. Complete and submit your application according to your licensor's instructions.





During your pre-licensure and post-licensure walkthroughs, your licensor will be inspecting your indoor and outdoor environment. You may need to make changes to your home before being licensed.


Take Required Training

Pre-licensing or initial training requirements must be met either before or within one year of getting your license. Ongoing training is required to keep your license current.

Connect with your Navigator for resources to help identify training needs.
Training Requirements

You can use the online tool, Develop, to find and register for training. Develop also allows you to track the training you take. Your Navigator can help you sign up for a Develop account.
Create a Develop Account

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Other Requirements

Along with filling out an application, there are several additional steps you must take to complete the licensing process.

Background Study

A background study will need to be completed on you, anyone you will have working in your program and household members before you receive your license. Not passing a background study could legally prohibit you from providing child care.

Medical Exam

You will have to supply documentation that you have had a physical examination from a licensed physician within the past 12 months and that you are physically able to care for children. All adults who will be helping you with care also must provide proof of a physical exam.

Fire Marshal Visit

Your licensor will help you determine if you need a fire marshal visit.