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How do I get a child care license in California?

31 October 2013

To get a Child Care Center License in the state of California you must:

1.       Attend an orientation.

These licensing orientations are scheduled on a regular basis on California.  There is a $25.00, nonrefundable, orientation fee.  Be sure to review the Pre-Orientation Information before registering.  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.

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

Read and be familiar with Child Care Center 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.

3.       Pass the home inspection.

A Licensing Program Analyst will contact you to schedule an inspection.

4.       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 requirements:

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


It is against the law to provide a Family Child Care Home or a Child Care Center when not licensed.  Operating without a license is a misdemeanor and you could be required to pay a $200 per day fine. You may also be subject to criminal charges by local law enforcement.

After passing all the necessary requirements, you should receive your Child Care Provider certificate.  There is a constant need for child care providers so be sure to update child care directories with your information so possible clients can find you.  I hope this was a helpful resource and have fun with your child care business!


source: CDSS

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