Main phone: 651-431-6500 Fax: 651-431-7673
Mailing address: Minnesota Department of Human Services, Licensing Division, P.O. Box 64242, St. Paul, MN 55164-0242
To report maltreatment of a child, contact Central Intake: 651-431-6600.
Maltreatment fax: 651-431-7601
Background Studies Division: 651-431-6620
The Certified License-Exempt Child Care email list provides licensing information and updates, including legislative requirements, for certified license-exempt child care centers.
Policies for exclusion of sick children must include:
Policies for infectious disease outbreak control should minimally include a plan for notifying parents of an exposure. The notification:
Certified centers must have a policy for administering medication and maintain documentation of staff training on the medication administration policy. Medication includes prescription and nonprescription medication.
If the program chooses not to administer medication, the policy must state medication is not administered.
If the program chooses to administer medication, the policy for administering medication must include:
The department does not have a specific form for recording the administration of medication. Programs must document the administration of medication. Documentation must include:
It is recommended that the written permission and record of medication administration are kept in the child’s file for a minimum of three years.
Diapering products, sunscreen, and insect repellent must have written permission from the child's parent or legal guardian. Sunscreen and insect repellant must be stored out of reach of children. School age children can apply sunscreen under the supervision of staff who need to ensure the nonprescription medication is administered according to the manufacturer or health provider instructions.
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245H.13, Subd. 3
Policies for preventing and responding to allergies must require that by the first date a child attends a center, documentation of any known allergy is obtained from each child's parent or legal guardian. This can be included in enrollment forms or any required health care paperwork.
If a child has a known allergy (any allergy), the center must meet the following requirements. It is recommended that a center use the Allergy Form.
1. Maintain current information about the allergy in the child's record. The child specific information must include:
2. Ensure that each staff person who works directly with the child is trained in the allergy information. Documentation that staff were informed must be kept on site. It is required that staff are informed:
3. Keep the child’s allergy information available:
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245H.13, subd 4
Fire inspection. Prior to being granted certification, a center must provide documentation showing that a fire inspection was completed within the previous three years by the state fire marshal or local fire code inspector trained by the state fire marshal.
Designated indoor and outdoor space. The certified center must maintain a floor plan of the building that shows where the primary indoor and outdoor spaces utilized by the center are located within/near the building.
Free of hazards. The certified center must ensure:
Hazardous items must be kept out of reach. Anything labeled keep out of reach of children should be inaccessible. Locked cabinets or closets are recommended, but not required. Certified centers are required to have an emergency plan (see emergency preparedness and response section below) which has a section on identification of hazards. When creating the policy for ensuring the center is free of hazards, ensure that it does not contradict the information in the written emergency plan.
Disposal of bodily fluids. If an exposure to bodily fluids occurs, the center must disinfect and dispose of any bodily fluids using gloves and in a securely sealed plastic bag.
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245H.13, Subd.5
Centers must have a policy for emergency preparedness and response, using the Child Care Emergency Plan form (PDF). This form is required and must be specific to each individual center.
It is also required that staff are trained at orientation and at least once each calendar year on the center-specific emergency plan (see staff training section below regarding the required training and documentation of training).
Certified centers must conduct one evacuation and one shelter-in-place drill quarterly and document the time and date of the drills. See the Certified Child Care Center Drill Log Form.
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245H.15
Certified centers must also inform the commissioner within:
Certified centers must comply with the reporting requirements for abuse and neglect as specified in Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 260E (Reporting of Maltreatment of Minors).
The DHS Maltreatment Investigations in DHS-licensed Programs webpage has additional information on:
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245H.11
Centers must include a statement in both the staff and parent policies that a parent or legal guardian must be allowed access to their child at any time their child is in care.
Legal authority: Minnesota. Stat. 245H
Certified centers must follow basic supervision requirements. Staff may allow for variation based upon the ages and needs of the children and must intervene when necessary to ensure a child’s safety.
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245H.13, Subd.10
Certified centers must ensure staff and volunteers use positive behavior guidance and prohibit staff from engaging in behavior that may harm children.
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245H.13, Subd.9
Certified centers must develop a risk reduction plan as specified in Minnesota Statutes, section 245H.13, subdivision 7 that identifies the general risks to children served by the certified center with a plan to minimize those risks. Certified centers may use the DHS Risk Reduction Plan form to meet this requirement.
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245H.13, subd.7
Background studies are a key component of certification and is required by state and federal law. Studies for certified centers will be processed by the Department of Human Services (DHS). Certified centers need to conduct DHS background studies on any new staff or individuals who need a study.
Guidance is available to help providers determine who needs a background study.
These individuals are prohibited from providing direct contact services until DHS issues a notice stating otherwise. The notice will be available in NETStudy 2.0 as an electronic document. You must follow the requirements in the notices for these individuals. The study subject will receive one or more of the following notices: a clearance notice, a notice that more time is needed to complete the background study, or a notice of disqualification. The notice will provide information on whether or not the study subject must be supervised or is still not permitted to provide direct contact services.
Background Studies Division contact for NetStudy 2.0 technical assistance questions: email@example.com
Background Studies Division contact for all other child care background study related questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Background Studies Division contact center number: 651-431-6620
For more information about background studies for certified centers, please visit:
A staff person must be 16 years of age or older before providing direct, unsupervised care to a child. Supervised care means an individual is within sight or hearing to the extent that the individual is capable at all times of intervening to protect the health and safety of the person served by the program.
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245H.08
Certified centers in a building with license exempt, licensed, and/or other programs cannot mix children from separate programs.
For example, if a school district has a licensed program for preschoolers, a license-exempt school readiness program for preschoolers, and a certified program for school ages all in one building, the children in these various programs cannot combine. They would be able to use shared spaces such as a gym or outdoor playground, but would need a schedule to ensure they are not using the shared space at the same time.
Certified centers under one certification holder cannot mix children, except under certain circumstances. The certification number is site specific. Wherever you are operating and children are attending, the child needs to be enrolled/authorized to be at that location. For example, if a school district has five certified centers at five separate locations and they want to combine into one location for summer, they would need to enroll all the children from the other four locations at the one location for summer. This would involve notifying CCAP to change authorization information for any child that is changing locations.
During hours of operation, a certified center must have a director or designee on site who is responsible for ensuring the health and safety of program participants and supervising staff and volunteers. The designee does not have to meet director requirements, but does need to know that they are responsible in the absence of the director. The designee does not need to be the same person each time the director is not present.
The director must be 18 years of age or older and have completed at least 16 hours of training per requirements listed in 245H.08, subd. 02.
The center must complete a Director Information Form (PDF) for its director, and the form must be kept on file at the center.
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245H.08, subd. 2
Certification standards do not require that certified centers maintain attendance records, however Minnesota Statutes 119B.125, Subd. 6 requires all providers that receive child care assistance payments to keep daily attendance records at the site where services are delivered for children receiving child care assistance. Programs must make records available immediately to the county or the commissioner upon request. The attendance records must be completed daily and include the date, the first and last name of each child in attendance, and the times when each child is dropped off and picked up. To the extent possible, the times that the child was dropped off to and picked up from the child care provider must be entered by the person dropping off or picking up the child. The daily attendance records must be retained at the site where services are delivered for six years after the date of service.
Having a system for children being signed into and out of your center will clarify when a center is responsible for a child and when the child is the responsibility of another program or service. For example,
|Age category||Definition of age category||Maximum group size||Staff-to-child ratio|
|Infant||Six weeks old through 16-months old||8||1:4|
|Toddler||16-months to 33-months old||14||1:7|
|Preschool||33 months through prekindergarten||20||1:10|
|School age||Kindergarten through age 13||30||1:15|
Kindergarten includes a child of sufficient age to have attended the first day of kindergarten or who is eligible to enter kindergarten within the next four months.
Maximum group size is the maximum number of children that can be involved in a group activity at any one time. The maximum group size applies at all times except during
Maximum group size applies to instances where all children are participating in one activity. This would not include having more than the maximum group size in a space participating in different activities. For example, 90 school age children could be in one cafeteria space as long as they are participating in three or more separate activities (note exceptions above).
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 234H.08, subd. 4
Ratios must be maintained based on age category. When combining age categories, the ratio for the age category for the youngest child in the group applies.
Examples of mixing children in different age categories:
The certified center is required to maintain a personnel record for each staff person that contains:
Annual inspections of certified centers are announced. If personnel records are housed off site or at a centralized location, records should be gathered prior to the scheduled review.
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245H16
Certified centers must ensure each staff person, substitute, and unsupervised volunteer is given an orientation training on:
The certified center must provide staff, substitutes, and unsupervised volunteers with an orientation within 14 days of the first date of direct contact with a child. Before the completion of orientation, an individual must be supervised while providing direct care to a child.
A certified center must document the date of a completed training required by this section. It is recommended that a center uses the Orientation Training Record for Certified Centers.
Health and safety standard requirement in 245H.13 (see requirements outlined in the Health and Safety section above) include:
Additionally, staff must complete certain training before caring for children and/or prior to unsupervised contact.
|Training topic||Who must complete||When completion required|
|SUID||Staff, substitutes, and any volunteers caring for infants under age 1||Prior to caring for infants under 1|
|AHT||Staff, substitutes, and unsupervised volunteers caring for children under school age||Prior to caring for children under school age|
|Child Development||Staff, substitutes, and unsupervised volunteers||Staff – Within 90 days of employment; Substitutes and unsupervised volunteers – Within 90 days of first date of contact|
|Emergency preparedness||Staff||Prior to unsupervised contact, and within 14 days|
|Reporting||Staff||Prior to unsupervised contact, and within 14 days|
|Pediatric first aid and CPR||Staff, substitutes, and unsupervised volunteers||Staff – Prior to unsupervised contact, and within 90 days of employment; Substitutes and unsupervised volunteers – Within 90 days of first date of contact|
|Risk Reduction||Staff, substitutes, and unsupervised volunteers||Prior to unsupervised contact, and within 14 days.|
Staff, substitutes, and unsupervised volunteers must be trained at orientation and once each calendar year on:
Staff must complete at least six hours of training each calendar year. Required trainings (both at orientation and each calendar year) may be used to meet the six hours required. College courses can be counted toward in service training if the coursework would apply to the staff person’s job. One semester credit is equivalent to 15 hours of training.
A certified center must document the date, training institution, and hours for any completed training in the personnel record for each staff person. It is recommended that a center use the Staff In-service Training Record for Certified Centers (PDF).
Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) videos
The Department of Human Services has approved the following series of videos which can be used, but are not required when providing SUID training. Centers are responsible for meeting all SUID training requirements as outlined in MN Statutes, section 245H.14, subd. 2, including the standards in MN Statutes, section 245A.1435.
Please Note: The videos below include portrayals of infant sleep environments in private, non-licensed, homes that are not subject to the requirements of MN Statutes, section 245A.1435. Licensed child care providers must comply with statutory safe sleep requirements when sleeping infants including nothing in the crib except for an infant’s pacifier. In addition, attachments or modifications to the crib are prohibited.
Abusive Head Trauma (AHT) videos
The Department of Human Services has approved the following series of videos which can be used, but are not required when providing AHT training. Centers are responsible for meeting all AHT training requirements as outlined in MN Statutes, section 245.40, subd. 5a.
Use the Minnesota State Child Care Emergency Plan, DHS-7415 (PDF) and Keeping Kids Safe: Child Care Provider Emergency Planning Guide DHS-7414 (PDF) when preparing for your response to emergencies and disasters. Each center must have a unique emergency plan using the Child Care Emergency Plan, DHS-7955 (PDF) created by DHS. This frequently asked questions document (PDF) is also an important resource for child care centers.
Certified centers must conduct one evacuation and one shelter-in-place drill quarterly and document the time and date of the drills. See the Certified Child Care Center Drill Log Form.
The certified center must inform the commissioner within 24 hours of the death of a child in care at the program; and a “serious injury” to a child in the program. A “serious injury” is defined as an injury to a child that required treatment by a physician (includes dentist). If a child goes to a doctor, but does not require treatment, it would not be considered a serious injury.
The center must use the Child Care Center Serious Injury & Death Report Form (PDF) (Word DOC) found on the Certified Centers webpage. Please note, Internet Explorer or Edge are the preferred browser types to use with this form. If you use Chrome, the send button will not work on the form. You can, however, email the form directly to email@example.com.
To remain in compliance as a certified child care center with the Minnesota Department of Human Services, all changes to the terms of your certification must be requested and approved.
Changes are requested using the Change in Certification Information Form which is site specific and needs to be provided by your licensor.
The following are examples of changes made using the Change in Certification Information Form. To make these types of changes to your certification, please contact your licensor.
The following rules and statutes guide licensing activities:
DHS is mandated to certify license-exempt child care centers that meet the requirements under 245H.02. As such, DHS is given the right of access to these centers to carry out all of the duties under 245H – in other words, once a center has been identified as requiring certification, DHS has the right to enter the center to perform required duties.
DHS access. When a center is in operation and information is relevant to an inspection or investigation, the DHS employee must be given access to:
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245H.04
Annual announced inspections. Certified centers will have an annual inspection to determine compliance with standards in 245H. Annual inspections will be announced and coordinated between center operators and DHS.
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245H.05
Investigations. In some instances where DHS has received information of alleged certification violations or maltreatment, there may be an unannounced investigation visits to the certified center:
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 260E
Correction orders. If the certification holder failed to comply with a law, the commissioner may issue a correction order. The correction order must state the condition that constitutes a violation of the law, the specific law violated, and the time allowed to correct each violation. If the certification holder believes that the commissioner's correction order is erroneous, the certification holder may ask the commissioner to reconsider the part of the correction order that is allegedly erroneous.
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245H.06
Decertification. The commissioner may decertify a center if a certification holder failed to comply with an applicable law; or knowingly withheld relevant information from or gave false or misleading information to the commissioner in connection with an application for certification, in connection with the background study status of an individual, during an investigation, or regarding compliance with applicable laws. When considering decertification, the commissioner must consider the nature, chronicity, or severity of the violation of law. When a center is decertified, the center is ineligible to receive payments from the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) under Minnesota Statutes 119B.
Legal authority: Minn. Stat. 245H.07
The Department of Human Services has approved the following series of videos to meet the SUID component when individuals are not receiving face-to-face, classroom, or online SUID training. All videos must be viewed to meet the SUID training requirement
The Department of Human Services has approved the following series of videos to meet the AHT component when license holders are not receiving face-to-face, classroom, or online AHT training. All videos must be viewed to meet the AHT training requirement.
The 2017 Minnesota Legislature enacted changes to bring Minnesota into compliance with the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant. Minnesota Statutes, Section 245H requires license-exempt centers that receive CCAP to be certified. The following exclusions from licensure under the following exclusions from 245A.03, Subd. 2 (and chooses to participate in CCAP) must be certified: