Are you considering getting a daycare license in California to make your dreams of owning a daycare in California a reality?
I have outlined a checklist to get your license to help you along this journey toward becoming a licensed daycare facility owner.
From understanding initial regulations to submitting necessary paperwork for proper certification, use my step-by-step guide as an introduction to how to get a daycare license in California.
Here are 12 Steps To Get a Daycare license in California.
- Step 1: Orientation
- Step 2: Submit Complete Family Child Care Application
- Step 3: Apply For Free EIN
- Step 4: Register Daycare With State
- Step5: Complete Required Training
- Step 6: Criminal Record Clearance
- Step7: Required Inspections
- Step 8: Opening a Bank Account
- Step 9: Licensing Fees
- Step 10: Insurance
- Step 11: Licensing Interviewing
- Step 12: Licensing Application Processing
I have curated 12 steps to get a daycare license in California, licensing types, requirements and tips. So you will have a checklist and all the knowledge necessary to help guide you through the process and turn your vision of launching a successful daycare business into an achievable goal!
What Are the General Requirements for Daycare Licensing in California?
It is essential to meet the general requirements. This includes establishing a secure and healthy environment for children, delivering outstanding childcare services, and following state regulations.
Childcare Center Provider Requirements
To obtain a childcare license in California, the provider must be 18 or older and pass a criminal background check. The provider must also meet professional qualifications outlined by the state and have several years of experience in child care.
Childcare Center Capacity Requirements
The quantity of children per daycare facility varies from state to state. For example, in California alone, a childcare center must host at least 10 and no more than 18 little ones per space while providing sufficient staff members to guarantee that each child receives quality care.
12 Steps to Get a Daycare Licence in California
Here are the 12 steps to get a daycare license in California.
Step 1: Orientation
Don’t hesitate to contact your nearest Childcare Licensing office today to schedule an orientation; here, you will be informed about the licensing process and required qualifications and can ask any inquiries. After attending the directions and completing all requirements, apply for your child care license!
To apply for a childcare license, simply head to your nearest Childcare Licensing office or download the application from the CDSS website. Along with your completed form, you will need several supplementary documents, which can also be found on the same site.
Get your free EIN today! You’ll need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to open a banking account for your daycare business. Once it is acquired, opening an account is simple. Apply now on the IRS website to get your own free EIN. Don’t wait any longer – secure yours today!
Step 2: Submit Complete Family Child Care Application
Once you’ve completed the orientation, it’s time to apply for your Childcare License! You can obtain all necessary forms from a local Licensing office or online at CDSS. After completing and submitting these documents, there are still additional steps required by state regulations that must be fulfilled.
The orientation fee is $25.00 per person for Family Child Care Homes and $50,00 for all other licensing categories (except Foster Family Homes, which continue to have no fee).
Apply for your free EIN. You will need an EIN to open a bank account for your daycare business. You can apply for your free EIN online at the IRS website.
Step 3: Apply For Free EIN
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique, nine-digit number identifying your daycare business for tax purposes. Obtaining a free EIN from the IRS is essential in launching your daycare and opening a bank account to manage your finances.
Applying for an EIN is fast and easy! Simply fill out the short form on the IRS website, and you will have your EIN in no time.
Once you have obtained your EIN, it’s time to open a bank account for your daycare business! Visit any central bank or credit union to start setting up an account. Ensure all documents are correctly filled out, and you have a copy of your EIN.
Step 4: Register Daycare With State
To gain a Child Care License in California and register your daycare, submit an application to the local Licensing office.
The form should include details like,
- Address of service provision
- Staff qualifications
- Documentary evidence
You can confidently ensure registration into state records by supplying this information with the completed application.
When you’ve submitted your application, the state will assess it and make a decision. This process may take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on how quickly they can evaluate all of the documents you provided. Once approved, however, you’ll receive your Child Care License to start caring for children rapidly!
Step 5: Complete Required Training
To guarantee a warm, nurturing environment for the kids in your daycare, you must complete all mandated training beforehand.
To ensure your daycare’s success, dedicate time to know and understand the required certifications outlined by the California Department of Social Services. All pertinent information can be found on their website!
First, you must pass a criminal record clearance to start your daycare venture. After completing all the required training and accomplishing this vital step, you are ready to embark on your new business journey!
Step 6: Criminal Record Clearance
To become qualified for a Child Care License, you must first secure the vital criminal record clearance. This is imperative in attaining eligibility to work as a childcare provider.
To obtain a criminal record clearance, you must fill out and apply to your local Department of Justice. This process can take 10-14 weeks, so plan accordingly. Once you receive confirmation that you have passed the clearance, please keep it on file for future reference.
Step 7: Required Inspections
To complete the licensing process and attain your official Child Care License, you must pass certain inspections mandated by state regulations.
These include the child abuse Central Index (CACI), fire safety clearance, and nonambulatory person certification.
Child Abuse Central Index (CACI) protects children from harm and abuse. All individuals with contact with the daycare must pass a CACI clearance before being hired or otherwise allowed on the premises.
In addition, a fire safety clearance is also required by California law. This ensures that all premises are free of fire hazards and meet proper safety requirements. You will need to submit a separate application for this clearance.
Finally, you must complete a nonambulatory persons certification to ensure your daycare is accessible and includes individuals with limited mobility or special needs. This can be done by applying with the Department of Developmental Services (DDS).
Once you have passed all these inspections, you will be ready to start caring for children and achieve your goal of running a successful daycare! Congratulations on taking the necessary steps to open your own business!
Step 8: Opening a Bank Account
You’re on the cusp of launching your business, so opening a bank account is critical. This is the beginning of forming a financial identity for your daycare and safeguards you and everyone involved.
To open a bank account for your daycare business, you will need to provide the bank with the following information:
- The name of your daycare business
- The address of your daycare business
- The name of the owner of your daycare business
- The Social Security number of the owner of your daycare business.
The bank may ask you to supply a copy of your driver’s license or ID card. If not, two other forms of identification with your name, date of birth and photograph should suffice.
To finalize the licensing process and receive your Child Care License, submit a copy of the bank statement that displays your daycare’s name, address, and account number after you open an account. This step is essential in obtaining authorization for childcare services!
Step 9: Licensing Fees
The cost of a childcare license varies depending on the type of facility you are operating. For example, a family childcare license costs $200, while a large childcare center license costs $500.
The license cost is payable to the Department of Social Services at the time of application. The licensing fee is non-refundable. You have to revive it every two years.
If you are applying for a family childcare license, you must also pay a $50 application fee. This fee is payable to the California Department of Education.
Along with paying the licensing fee, you must also cover your fingerprinting fees, background check fees, and criminal record clearance costs. These payments should be made to both the California Department of Justice and the FBI while submitting your application.
Step 10: Insurance
Suppose you opt not to renew or maintain a liability insurance policy for no more than $500,000 per occurrence and with the Department of Social Services as an additional insured party while your license is valid.
In that case, we will be forced to revoke your permit. Therefore, all childcare facilities must always keep their insurance in good standing.
You may obtain insurance through the California Family Child Care Home Education Association (CFCHEA) if you operate a family childcare home. CFCHEA offers two types of insurance coverage, Basic Coverage and Enhanced Coverage.
Step 11: Licensing Interviewing
To obtain your Child Care License, you must go through an interview and pass. You will be asked inquiries on childcare customs, safety practices, and emergency readiness strategies – all of which demand prior familiarization with state regulations.
Thus, ensure you have accumulated any needed papers to prepare for the process.
To prepare for the interview, you should gather the following information.
- The name, address, and telephone number of your daycare business.
- The name and address of the owner of your daycare business.
- The date the daycare opened.
- The type of facility you are operating.
- The name and contact information of your insurance company.
- The type of insurance coverage you have.
- The name and contact information for your background check company.
- The name and contact details of your training provider.
- A copy of your driver’s license or identification card.
- Two other forms of identification include your name, date of birth, and photograph.
Step 12: Licensing Application Processing
The final stage of your licensing journey is to submit the application and wait for it to be assessed. While this part may require a few weeks, you’ll eventually get that license in the mail!
Once you do, you can start celebrating since becoming an owner of a daycare was no small feat. Congratulations on taking such a massive step toward owning your own daycare business!
What Are the Daycare Licensing Types?
When considering the different options available to you when opening a daycare facility, it’s essential to know that California recognizes three main types of licensure:
- Family Child Care Home License
- Large Family Child Care
- Home License,
- Daycare Center License
Each license has its requirements and varying costs – so check in with your local licensing office before deciding which one is right for you.
How to Stay Compliant With Daycare Licensing Requirements in California?
Now that you’ve gone through the entire process of applying for a daycare license in California, staying up-to-date on the latest rules and regulations is essential.
The Department of Social Services provides regular updates on the most recent changes in licensing requirements, so make sure you check those regularly.
Additionally, if you are ever in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact your local licensing office for clarification. This way, you can ensure that your daycare always complies with California’s latest rules and regulations.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Start a Daycare Business in California?
When starting a daycare business in California, one must be deliberate when planning and organizing.
To ensure compliance with the applicable regulations, you should identify which type of license suits your situation best: Family Child Care Home License, Large Family Child Care Home License or Daycare Center License. Gather your documents, such as proof of insurance and various forms of ID.
Subsequently, fill out the application form before submission for processing. Once approved, you’ll be well on opening up a successful daycare business in California!
How Much is a Child Care License in California?
The cost of a child care license in California varies depending on the type of license you are applying for. Generally, the price will be between $50 and $500 annually.
What Kind of Permit Do I Need to Own a Daycare in California?
To operate a daycare center in California, one must obtain a Daycare Center License. Depending on the size of your facility, you may also be required to apply for a Family Child Care Home License or Large Family Child Care Home License.
Starting and operating a daycare in California can be incredibly daunting, yet with the proper groundwork and preparation, you will be ready to succeed from your very first day.
Do your due diligence to ensure you know all applicable rules and regulations about each available licensing type.
Collect all the required paperwork, fill out your application form, and send it to your nearest licensing bureau for assessment. After you receive approval, rejoice you have just taken a considerable step towards owning your daycare business!