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Many U.S. states require that you become a licensed child care provider if you wish to make money watching children. Obtaining a license involves a few steps, one of which is to ensure that you meet the basic requirements of age, experience and proper training. It is likely that members of your household will affect your application for a license, because they need to be free of both a criminal past and certain health conditions. Additionally, your place of business will need to be considered safe before you can become a licensed child care provider.
In most states, you must be at least 18 years old to get a license for a child care business. You also need to have at least a few years of experience watching children, whether your own or someone else's. It is especially helpful if you have experience keeping medical records for each child, because you will need to keep track of all medical conditions and allergies for those children in your care. If you do not already have safety training, you may need to complete a course offered by the state before you are given a license to be a child care provider. Having a college degree in child development or a related subject may be an advantage, but most states only require a high school diploma.
If you plan to run a child care business from your home, anyone who lives there will be investigated. Both you and other residents of the house will be tested for illnesses that could be dangerous to children, such as tuberculosis. All adult members of the household will also be subject to a criminal record check, so be prepared to submit your fingerprints along with those of any adult family members or roommates. If a criminal record is found for you or your household members, your application to become a licensed child care provider will likely be turned down. If your record is clean and a member of your household's is not, you may be able to move and reapply for a license at a later date.
Your intended place of business will also be investigated before you can become a licensed child care provider. If you want to run your business out of your home, it will be checked to ensure safety, so be sure to put up gates around any pools, hot tubs or stairs. It is also advised that you baby-proof your home before applying to become a licensed child care provider. This includes putting locks on low cabinets and drawers, keeping cleaning products out of the way and covering electrical sockets.