Starting a Child Care Business in California?


The Department of Social Services has many tools – free of charge – for the child care provider community.  This is just one of their “Do It Yourself” step-by-step articles that will guide you, or someone you know, to get started in this in-home businesses.

Begin by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do you enjoy working with children?
  • Are you knowledgeable about child development or willing to learn more about child development?
  • Am you ready to be a professional business owner?
  • Would you like to be able to set you own hours and/or wages?
  • Would you like to work at home so that you can stay at home with you own children?
  • Are you willing to open your home to other families and to have your home inspected by the Child Care Licensing Agency?
  • Is your family supportive of your plans to operate a Family Child Care Home, and are they willing to get criminal background checks?
  • Am you willing to meet all licensing requirements and, if required, make changes to your home (e.g. build a 5-foot fence around my swimming pool)?

If so, Family Child Care may offer you a rewarding and challenging career opportunity.


In order to get a Family Child Care Home License:

  1. You must attend an orientation
    • Orientations are scheduled on a regular basis all over California.
    • There is an orientation fee and it is nonrefundable, so be sure that you meet the qualifications for a license before you sign up for an orientation.
    • To review the qualifications for a license and Pre-Orientation Registration Information, click on the appropriate link: (English), (Espanol/Spanish), (Chinese).
    • You may sign up for an orientation by contacting the State Licensing Agency nearest you. To see a list of Child Care Licensing Agencies in California, click here: Regional Offices. The Regional Offices Directory will show you what counties each Child Care Licensing office covers. To see an orientation schedule for your area, click here: Orientation Schedules.
    • NOTE: If you live in any of the following counties, you need to contact your local County Family Child Care Home licensing office: Del Norte, Inyo.You can get the telephone number from your local telephone directory under Government Listings, County Government Offices, or by clicking here: County Offices That License Family Child Care Homes. Click here to view Orientation Schedules for county licensed Family Child Care Homes.
  2. You must be familiar with all Family Child Care Home licensing laws and regulations.
    • You can read the Family Child Care Home licensing requirements by clicking here: Family Child Care Home Licensing Requirements (Title 22).
      • The licensing requirements are not available from the Department of Social Services Warehouse. You must print your own hard copy. Be sure to have plenty of paper in your printer-there are 80 pages!
    • You can read a short summary of these requirements, by clicking here: Regulation HighlightsThe Regulation Highlights are not available from the Department of Social Services Warehouse. You must print your own hard copy.
  3. You must pass a home inspection. A Licensing Program Analyst will contact you to schedule an inspection of your home. The LIC 9217(3/05) – Pre-Licensing Readiness Guide – Family Child Care Home is a helpful tool to get you ready for this inspection. To see this form, click on the above link.
  4. You must complete and submit all the information and forms required in the application packet. We will not accept your application until after you have completed the orientation. There is an application fee that is nonrefundable. Click on this blue link for licensing fee information. If you are ready to sign up for an orientation, please contact your local licensing office: Regional Offices or County Offices. Click here to view the Orientation Schedules .Prior to attending an orientation, you must download and print the Family Child Care Home Regulation Highlights and all of the forms contained in the Application and Instructions for a Family Child Care Home License (LIC 279A). To access these documents, please click on the preceding blue links.