Family Child Care

for New Providers

How to Become a Family Child Care Provider

If you are interested in opening a licensed family (in home) child care business, and live in Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd, or Wadena counties—follow the steps below:

Note: The entire Family Child Care licensing process may take 60 to 90 days.

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 child care provider (limited to parent, grandparent, brother, sister, stepparent, stepsister, stepbrother, uncle, aunt, niece, or nephew);
  • The children are from one unrelated family; or
  • The care is for less than 30 days in any 12-month period.

Sourcewell charges a $10 background study fee and a $50 initial licensing fee. Both of these fees are due before any paperwork will be processed. All checks must be written out to the county in which you reside.

Some providers will be required to have a fire marshal inspection at a fee of $50. Please refer to the regional licensing specialist for the proper protocol on how to complete this step. Additionally, 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 for the home, such as 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 Michelle Tautges, Regional Licensing Specialist, at or 218-895-4120