child at child care provider location

Getting Started as a Family Child Care Provider

Licensed family child care homes
The local county licenses providers to care for children in a licensed family child care home. Training is required for licensed family child care providers.

Step 1: Contact your county licensor.
Our list of county licensing staff includes phone numbers as well as links to more detailed information on county websites, where it is available.

Step 2: Contact your local Child Care Aware Agency.
We can offer the latest statistics on child care demand in your area. We also offer quality support, business support, ongoing education, grants and scholarships to child care professionals. You can get contact information for your local Child Care Aware agency here. Child Care Aware agencies help parents find local child care by keeping up-to-date information on providers.

Step 3: Create your business, financing and professional development plans.

  • For templates and information on creating a business plan, marketing your child care program and understanding financial planning for your business, contact First Children’s Finance by calling 866-562-6801 or visiting their website.
  • For information on running a family child care business, including record keeping, taxes, contracts, laws, insurance, money management and retirement planning, visit Tom Copeland's Taking Care of Business.
  • Visit our professional development section for information about ongoing education and certification opportunities.

Step 4: Join a professional association.

Family child care associations are groups of providers who help each other and improve the child care profession. They can offer monthly support meetings, professional growth, discounts on products and services, newsletters, public policy advocacy, and much more.

The Minnesota Licensed Family Child Care Association's mission is to support the highest standard of care for children in Minnesota's diverse licensed family child care homes through education, resources, recognition and advocacy.

Step 5: Join the Child & Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

This federal program offers education on nutrition and pays providers monthly for some of the cost of the food they serve to children. All licensed family child care providers are eligible for this program.

Benefits of Becoming a Licensed Family Child Care Provider

The child care licensing process is designed to increase the quality of care children receive and to offer valuable information to caregivers. In addition, parents will be reassured to know that licensed care programs are periodically inspected.

Other benefits of licensure are:

  • Eligibility for the U.S.D.A. Child Care Food Program  (CACFP).
  • Referrals from the local resource and referral agency 
  • Assistance from licensing staff 
  • Business tax deductions 
  • Membership opportunities in professional child care associations 
  • Training and grant opportunities.