Starting a Family Child Care Program

Prepare Your Home and Business

A family child care program is a business and planning for legal, tax, insurance, budgeting, recordkeeping, and meeting specific requirements for the space where care is provided is important.

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Use Google Sheets, Excel, Apple Numbers, Quickbooks, or whatever you find most useful to you. We've provided links to some templates to help you get started.

Budgeting Template

This budget template outlines potential income sources and expense categories.

Startup Cost Template

This template covers common startup costs to consider. Startup grants to help with these costs may be available; contact a navigator near you for more information.

Business Income and Expenses

You will need to account for your business income and expenses on your taxes, and you may need the help of a tax preparer.

Record Keeping

You must maintain program records including staff records, children’s records, and administrative records.

Liability Insurance

Licensing law does not require you to have liability insurance, but you must inform parents annually of whether or not you have this coverage. You will want to connect with your insurance company to discuss your options and whether or not liability coverage is appropriate for you.

Business consulting is also available from First Children’s Finance.

An in-depth business planning guide for family child care is available for purchase from RedLeaf Press.

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These are important factors to consider as you apply to be licensed. Your county licensor will be able to answer questions specific to your home.

Some Requirements to Consider

  • You must have a minimum of 35 square feet of usable indoor space for each child.
  • There must be at least 50 square feet per child of outdoor play space. If your yard is too small, you can use a park, playground, or play space if it is within 1,500 feet of your home. You may be required to install a fence if you live by a busy road or near a water hazard.
  • State and local fire code could impact decisions regarding the space in which care is provided. For example, where children sleep and basements used for care may have to have two escape routes.
  • If you are renting a home, check with the homeowner and the lease agreement to make sure that you can operate a family child care business in the rental property.

Full Requirements

A full list of requirements is available from your licensor, or you can use the link below to view the entire list.