How do I get a Child Care License?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 10 February 2018
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The exact requirements for getting a child care license depend on your state or area. Most child care regulatory systems are managed by government departments. For example, in the state of Michigan, child care licenses are given out and monitored by the Division of Child Daycare Licensing, Department of Consumer and Industry Services (MDCIS). Although the regulations for receiving a child care license vary in different states and locations, all day cares are expected to provide services that promote the physical, mental and emotional well being of children.

In most cases, a child care license is issued in the name of what is often referred to as the primary caregiver. The primary caregiver is held responsible for meeting and maintaining child care licensing requirements. This responsibility means that this person must ensure that any staff, whether paid or volunteer, must act in accordance with the child care licensing standards. The owner of a child care facility is usually the primary caregiver. Licensing requirements usually specify the training levels needed by the primary caregiver and her staff, such as degrees or classes in early childhood education.


Other than always ensuring the safe care of each child, the primary caregiver must keep to strict regulations that relate to the maximum number of children the facility is licensed for as well as the ages. Most child day cares have mixed ages from 0 to 12 years. The maximum number of children permitted in any day care usually depends on whether the care provided is full time or only before and after school.

If you want to get a child care license in your state or area, you'll have to consider what is often called conventional hours. Conventional hours may be specified by child care governing agencies as between 6am and 6pm on weekdays, while weekends and times beyond that may be called extended hours. This distinction is important, as your license may specify how many hours of conventional and extended care you may provide.

You must apply for a child care license by filling out, signing and submitting your application to the licensing agency. Child care licenses may be issued annually and need to be renewed each year. Licensees, or primary caregivers, are expected to keep up with current changes and regulations in the day-to-day operation of their child care facilities. If you’re just starting a child day care, the licensing agency may grant you a temporary license before approving your facility to be licensed for a year or more.



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