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How do I get a family child care home license in California?

31 October 2013

There are two kinds of licensed child care provider in the state of California, a family child care Home and a child care center.

-     Family Child Care Home reflects a home-like environment where non-medical care and supervision is provided for periods of less than 24 hours.  A Family Child Care Home must be in licensee’s own home.

-     Child Care Center which is usually located in a commercial building.  Non-medical care and supervision is provided for infant to school-age children in a group setting for periods of less than 24 hours.  This includes child care centers, infant care centers, toddler programs, school-age centers and child care centers for mildly ill children.


In order to get a Family Child Care Home License you must:

1. Attend an orientation.

Orientations are scheduled on a regular basis in California.  There is a $25.00, nonrefundable, orientation fee.  Be sure to review the Pre-Orientation Information before signing up.  You may sign up for an orientation by contacting the State Licensing Agency nearest you.  The Regional Offices Directory will show you what counties each Child Care Licensing office covers.

Click here to view Orientation Schedules for your area..

NOTE: If you plan to operate a Family Child Care Home in the following counties, contact your local County Family Child Care Home licensing offices by clicking here.

Orientation schedule for the following Counties is found here.

  • Del Norte

  • Inyo County

  • Sacramento

Be familiar with ALL Family Child Care Home licensing home and regulations.

Read and be familiar with Family Child Care Home Licensing Requirements.  You can also read the short summary of these requirements called The Regulation Highlights.  The copy of these two readings is not available from the Department of Social Services Warehouse.  You must print your own copy.

Pass the home inspection.

A Licensing Program Analyst will contact you to schedule an inspection of your home. The Pre-Licensing Readiness Guide is a helpful tool to get you ready for this inspection.

Complete and submit all information and forms required in the application packet.

Application will not be processed unless you have completed the orientation.  There is also an application fee that is nonrefundable.  Below are links that will help you in preparing your application:

DO NOT FORGET to bring all of these forms to the orientation.


source: CDSS

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