Starting a Family Child Care Home


Family child care is child care in the provider’s home for any part of a 24-hour day. It may be part time or full time, for infants through school-age children. Care is given by a consistent provider who works with a small group to foster secure, trusting relationships while parents are away on a daily basis.

What Are the Benefits of Being a Licensed Provider?

  • Being your own boss
  • Having a positive impact on children’s lives
  • Being at home with your own children
  • Earning extra income without the extra expense of child care, transportation or a business wardrobe
  • Partial grocery reimbursement for serving well balanced, nutritious meals through the Child Care Food Program


Your Home Environment:

  • Is your home safe for young children?
  • Are you willing to allow children to explore and use most of your home?
  • Do you have a variety of spaces that could be set up for activities that are quiet, noisy, messy, neat, peaceful – for art, books, blocks, puzzles, climbing and running?

Your Emotional Environment:

  • Do you enjoy being with children, listening patiently and applauding their efforts?
  • Do you feel confident that you can provide sensitive, nurturing care?
  • Can you be described as warm, friendly, dependable, self-confident, tactful and energetic?
  • Does your family like the idea of doing day care in the home?


State licensing is required for any provider caring for children of more than one family. Maximum capacity is eight children with no more than two under the age of two, or four children total under age two, unless the provider qualifies for an expanded license for 14. The expanded license requires at least one year’s experience, a fire clearance and an assistant.

What Does Licensing Involve?

  • Step 1:  Attend a Licensing Orientation coordinated by the Child Care Council branch offices. You must attend an orientation before Community Care Licensing (CCL) will accept your application. The person applying for the license must be 18 years or older and must attend the orientation.
  • To sign up for the Orientation go to Bay Area Regional Office, Oakland. Scroll through the months to find the month and date for the Family Child Care Home Orientation you wish to attend. There is a fee of $25.00 per person. Next, scroll down to page 19 and you will find the Family Day Care Orientation Pre-Registration form. Print it, fill it out and send it with the $25.00 fee to: Community Care Licensing 1515 Clay Street Suite 1102 Oakland, CA 94607
  • Step 2:  Submit a completed application to CCL with TB tests for all adults 18 years and older and proof of enrollment in 15 hours of Health and Safety training for all adults who will be alone with the children.
  • Step 3:  After receiving your facility license number from CCL, complete Live Scan background checks for all adults 18 years and older living in the home.
  • Step 4:  Site visit by the State Licensing Evaluator to verify minimal safety standards.

Why Get Licensed?

  • It is against the law not to be licensed if you are caring for more than one family.
  • Eligibility for the Child Care Food Program
  • Tax benefits
  • Free referrals from the Child Care Council
  • Membership in a Family Child Care Association
  • Assistance in obtaining insurance
  • In-home support from a variety of Child Care Council programs

Important Ingredients to Success:

  • Join the referral program of the Child Care Council to receive requests for service. In order to be added to the Child Care Council referral database, a site visit is required by a Resource and Referral counselor.
  • Develop, clear, specific contracts and parent agreements.
  • Maintain a simple, accurate record-keeping system to assist with bookkeeping and tax deduction claims.
  • Join a Family Child Care Association in order to obtain liability insurance and professional support.
  • Enroll in the Child Care Food Program to receive up-to-date nutrition, health and safety education materials, as well as partial cash reimbursement for food expenses.

The local area office of COCOKIDS can give you information on the following:

  • Community college classes designed for family child care providers
  • Workshops and training
  • Family child care associations
  • Child care professional organizations
  • Books and publications regarding family day care and child development

If you want more information on licensed family child care, please contact COCOKIDS office nearest you.

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