Family child care for new providers

Are you interested in opening an in-home family child care business in Becker, Cass, Crow Wing, Douglas, Morrison, Stevens, Todd, or Wadena county? We can help! Note: The entire licensing process may take 60 to 90 days.

Contact us to get started
Toddler girl smiling and crawling in colorful tunnel at family child care

How to become a family child care provider

    • Wayfinder Navigators help navigate resources and information regarding family child care.

    • Help includes, but is not limited to, navigating resources for grant funding, funds to pay for required trainings, business, and financial planning.

    • Request a consultation here: us

    • Consultation with a Navigator is encouraged, but not required.

    Once inquiry has been submitted, you will receive instructions through an email how to complete the online self-paced family child care orientation.

    Complete and mail to your regional licensing specialist:

    Mail completed items to:
    Attn: Child Care Licensing
    P.O. Box 219
    Staples, MN 56479

    Your regional licensing specialist will initiate the background study process once these documents have been received and contact you to schedule your initial walk through visit.

    At this visit, your regional licensing specialist will assess your environment to determine if a Fire Marshal inspection is required, review licensing requirements, and provide you with resources and additional documentation that must be complete.

    Additional licensing documentation that will be reviewed at your initial walk-through. We will bring this to you.

    Contact your regional licensing specialist to schedule your final walk through when:

    • All Fire Marshal requirements have been met

    • All documents have been completed and sent to your regional licensing specialist

    • All items on the DHS Licensing Requirements list have been met and documented

    At the final walk through, the licensing specialist can verify that all requirements have been met, they will submit a request for your family child care license to be issued.

    Congratulations! You have completed the application process and now own your own family child care business.

    Common questions

      Minnesota Employment and Economic Development offers a free resource on First Considerations in Starting a Family Child Care Business. Access online, or obtain a copy from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) by calling 651-556-8425.

      Anyone who cares for children needs to be licensed unless:

      • The children are related to the provider (limited to parent, grandparent, brother/sister, stepparent, stepsister/stepbrother, uncle/aunt, or niece/nephew)

      • The children are from one unrelated family

      • The care is for less than 30 days in any 12 month period

      Initial licensing fee
      Sourcewell charges a $50 initial licensing fee, which is due before any paperwork will be processed. All checks must be written out to the county in which you reside.

      Background studies & fingerprinting
      State law requires that the DHS charge a fee that reflects the cost of conducting a background study, including potential appeals and the NET Study 2.0 system. The fees for child care background studies are payable at time of service:

      • For adults (18 years of age and older)
        $40 for the background study
        $9.10 for fingerprinting.

      • For minors (17 years of age and younger)
        $20 for the background study
        $9.10 for fingerprinting - if required to submit fingerprints

        Types of studies for minors:
        - They are paid by the provider to assist in the care of children or to work directly with children in care; or
        - they live outside of Minnesota, or
        - they have lived outside of Minnesota at any time in the last five years, or
        - they have a Minnesota criminal record, or
        - there is reasonable cause to believe that they may have a criminal record in another state.

      Additional fees & costs
      Some providers will be required to have a fire marshal inspection at a fee of $50. Please refer to your regional licensing specialist for details on how to complete this step. In addition, providers who have well water will need to pay to have their water tested annually.

      Other costs may be associated with obtaining required health and safety equipment. This may include smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, first-aid kit, etc.

      16 hours of training are required annually, with some additional requirements around specific topics. For additional details, please reference our Training & Resources page

      All caregivers will need to complete a background study and additional requirements for training and health. For details, please refer to the Requirements for Substitutes/Helpers/Caregivers.

      The need for a fence will be determined by the licensor at your home visit. Most often, fences are required for water hazards, road hazards, railroads, and/or machinery hazards.


      Contact or call 218-895-4120.

      Please include your county of residence in all communications.