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The Licensing Process for Family Child Care

The process necessary to become a licensed family child care provider is governed directly by the Minnesota Department of Human Services ( The rules and regulations are meant to protect the children in child care as well as promote their creativity and socialization skills. The County licensor is the individual responsible for explaining and assisting anyone that is interested in being licensed. You must be licensed to provide child care in Minnesota with the following exceptions:

  1. Daycare provided by a relative to only related children; and/or
  2. Daycare provided to children from a single, unrelated family for any length of time
  3. Daycare provided for a cumulative total of less than 30 days in any 12-month period;


  1. The exclusions contained in items A and B are mutually exclusive

Minnesota Statutes 245A.02 subp. 13, defines an “individual who is related” as a spouse, parent, natural or adopted child or stepchild, stepparent, stepbrother, stepsister, niece, nephew, adoptive parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, or a legal guardian

Below is a brief overview of the family child care licensing requirements and time-lines:

1. Visit the Stevens County licensing website for information on becoming a family child care provider. This will help you in making the decision as to whether child care is an occupation you wish to pursue. If it is, you must return the following completed forms:

      A. DHS Family Systems Application

      B. Background Study- Background studies must be completed for you, your spouse, and any children/individuals age 13 years and over residing in the home or planning to help with the daycare. Children ages 13-17 years old must also have a parent/guardian signature on the form. Be sure to complete all sections on the form, including the second page!

Once you have returned a signed application form and background study forms, the licensor will send out reference letters to the persons you have listed on the application. When the background studies are completed and the reference letters have been returned, the licensor will contact you to continue the licensing process which may take 3-6 months to complete.

2. The licensor will meet with you to provide additional forms necessary for licensure. A state fire marshal inspection is required of your home and all necessary corrections are required to be completed before a license can be issued. The fee for the inspection is $50.00.

Rural residents are also required to have a water test done initially and annually thereafter. The licensor will provide a sample kit.

3. The next visit with the licensor is usually when a home safety inspection will be done. At this inspection, the licensor is looking for any areas which may present a hazard to children such as, but not limited to:

A. stairways which would need a barrier

B. sanitation/debris issues

Various forms will need to have been completed including but not limited to:

A. pet vaccinations

B. physicians report 

Required training prior to becoming licensed is:

            A. CPR & First Aid

            B. Supervising for Safety (the class is 6 hours)

            C. Child Growth & Development and Behavior Guidance (the class is 4 hours)

            D. SUID (Sudden Unexpected Infant Death) & Abusive Head Trauma (the class is 2 hours)

The licensor will also bring the necessary forms the provider will need to begin their business:

A. Immunization form                       D. Admission & Arrangements form

B. Permission to medicate                E. Fire/Storm drill tracking form

C. Activity authorization                    F. Other applicable forms   

The licensor at this time will determine if there are any areas which require further compliance and schedule another visit before a recommendation to license can be submitted to DHS. If all requirements are met, a fee of $50 would be obtained for licensure. The licensor will make a recommendation to DHS within 20 working days of a completed application process.

These are the basic steps necessary to become a licensed family child care provider. The license is renewed the following year after initial licensing and every two years thereafter. While the relicensing paperwork is significantly less, it still adheres to all Minnesota regulations.

A family child care home is run the same way as any small business. The provider must be a nutritionist, bookkeeper, accountant, medical specialist, activity director, child advocate, and a substitute parent to all the children in their care. It is a very demanding but also rewarding job.

Family child care providers, most of all, love and nurture their “children.” They deserve our highest praise and total support for providing a safe and nurturing environment for our future community leaders and members.