In Minnesota, licensed child care is provided through either child care centers or family child care.
Family Child Care is generally provided in the caregiver’s home with no more than 14 children cared for at any one time. An individual who intends to care for children from more than one unrelated family must obtain a license.
A Child Care Center generally, is characterized by a location other than the provider’s or caregiver’s home, larger numbers of children being cared for, and staff qualifications and training requirements.
In some cases, a child care center may be excluded from licensure. License-exempt child care is specific to certain groups of child care programs based on the setting, population of children served, services provided, number of children served, and/or the length of service. More information about exemptions for licensure can be found in Minn. Stat. § 245A.03, subd. 2. In Minnesota, license-exempt child care centers may be required to meet certain standards if they participate in Minnesota’s Child Care Assistance Program.
Each licensed family child care provider and licensed child care center must apply for a license from the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). A license to provide child care will be approved once the facility/program meets required standards. In addition, all staff must pass a background study
Once a child care program is licensed and providing care, licensors will visit the program at least once every two years to ensure providers are meeting the licensing requirements. Licensors also visit to investigate complaints.
The Legislature has made a number of statutory changes for programs licensed by DHS. These are only summaries of the changes enacted and may not reflect all changes to laws that impact licensed programs. For full requirements, please refer to the applicable law in Minnesota statute. Legislation includes changes to background study requirements for all child care providers to comply with the reauthorized federal Child Care Development Block Grant.
Additional information is in frequently asked questions about child care background studies
Submit questions to the Licensing Division for review. These provider questions allow the Licensing Division to determine where more clarification on licensing requirements can be provided.
A family child care or group family child care license may be issued for up to two years after the first year of licensure.