How to Open a Home Day Care in California

Opening a home day care can be an involved process, but it remains a viable option for stay-at-home moms, single adults, grandparents and anyone else who loves to spend time with and watch children learn and grow. To open a home day care in California, both you and any adult member of your family will need to complete several steps.

Contact your local child care licensing agency to ask about the date of the next child care licensing orientation. This orientation class is mandatory and will give you useful information about laws, regulations, licensing and child care practices.

Pay the orientation fee to the licensing office you will receive the orientation from. This is a non-refundable fee and does not guarantee that you receive a license to open a home day care.

Print the Family Child Care Home licensing requirements from the California Department of Social Services website to read over and take with you to orientation 123. While orientation will cover the highlights of these laws and regulations, as a home day care provider you are responsible for knowing every law and regulation on the books regarding home day care.

Take notes and jot down any questions you have about the licensing requirements in a notebook to ask during orientation.

Attend the orientation and take notes about laws or regulations. During orientation, the facilitator will explain all of the steps you need to follow on the road to acquiring a home day care license.

Fill out a background check and fingerprint form for every adult who lives in your home or who will regularly visit your home while children are in your care. You will not obtain a home day care license unless all adults are cleared through a background check.

Visit your family care practitioner to have a tuberculosis test for every adult living in your home or who frequently will be in contact with the children in your care.

Fill out a Pre-Licensing Home Readiness Guide and mail to the child care licensing agency in your area. This guide includes a checklist of items that must be complete before a licensing agent will visit your home for an inspection. Included in the list is having a clean home, all fireplaces and heaters screened, working fire extinguishers and smoke detectors, working telephone, a safe place for poisons and chemicals, secure firearms, gates, clean and safe play equipment, and ensuring that other general home hazards are properly secured and inaccessible to the children in your care. After completing the form, an agent will contact you for the home visit. If problems within your home are detected during the visit, you will be given a list of items to remedy before receiving licensing.

Complete the application packet and submit the information and licensing fees to the childcare licensing agency for approval. Once approved, you are required to take a 15-hour preventative health and safety training course to obtain your license.


As a home day care provider, you will have regular visits from the licensing agency to check the safety of your home and to verify you are in compliance with all record-keeping, food service and health standards required by the state of California.