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Licensed child care centers

This page has information specific to licensed child care centers. Licensed child care centers are generally characterized by a location other than the provider’s or caregiver’s home, with larger numbers of children being cared for, and requirements for staff qualifications and training.

Licensing child care helps protect the health and safety of children by requiring that providers meet minimum standards for care and physical environment. The Department of Human Services is responsible for licensing and monitoring child care centers for compliance with licensing requirements. 

Information on how to obtain a child care center license

In Minnesota, a child care provider is required by state law to obtain a license to operate a child care center unless the provider meets an exemption in state law. Licensure provides the necessary oversight to ensure child care is provided in a healthy and safe environment, by qualified people, and meets the developmental needs of all children in care. Information and resources are available about the process of applying for a child care center license.

News and updates

Find details about recent changes in Licensing below. For previously published items visit the archives pageSubscribe to receive licensing news updates.

Provider Hub

The Provider Hub is the online system to manage existing licenses and apply for new licenses. The Provider Hub is available to providers 24/7 and is accessible on mobile devices, tablets, and computers. The Provider Hub supports English, Somali, Spanish, and Hmong languages.

The Provider Hub allows child care providers to:

  • Manage existing licensed centers, including requesting changes and submitting information for the annual license review
  • Apply for a license for a new center
  • Add additional users to access program information

Contact information

Legislative changes

This summary contains general information about statutory changes made in the previous years that impact DHS licensed programs, including licensed child care centers. Implementation plans are created to provide detailed information regarding specific changes for licensed child care centers, when needed.

Background studies


Health and safety


Forms and other documents

Licensing inspections and processes


A variance may be granted by the Commissioner for requirements in licensing rules that do not affect the health or safety of persons in a licensed program if certain conditions are met.

All variance requests must be submitted in the Provider Hub. General variance requests are submitted on the Variance tab. Staff variance requests are submitted on the Personnel tab.

All variance requests are submitted to licensors for approval. If further action is required by the provider, the licensor will send the provider an email notification. The variance review and approval can be seen by the provider within the Provider Hub.


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