Family Child Care

for new providers

How to become a family child care provider

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! Follow the steps below, or contact a Sourcewell licensing specialist

Note: The entire 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 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.

a smiling young child in a licensed family child care home

More on child care licensing

Sourcewell offers a variety of additional tools and information regarding family child care licensing in central Minnesota. Our service area includes Becker, Cass, Crow Wing, Douglas, Morrison, Todd, and Wadena counties.

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Contact or call 218-895-4120.

Please include county of residence in your communication.