Family child care licensing

Hennepin County is responsible for licensing family child care homes in the county. Providers who care for children from more than one family must be licensed. The county conducts orientations, background studies, home interviews, safety checks, recommends licensure, conducts investigations, and supports providers in meeting the health and safety needs of the children in their care.

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For current providers

Connector newsletter

Hennepin County publishes the newsletter for licensed child care providers. Receive the Connector newsletter via email. Sign up for the provider newsletter.

Recent issues

Child-specific forms

Forms for business use

Provider forms and related materials

Professional associations

Food program and liability insurance coverage

While not legally required, many family child care providers carry liability insurance. You can purchase insurance through an insurance agency or as part of the provider’s homeowner’s insurance.

Assure Child Care
80 South 8th Street
Suite 700
Minneapolis MN  55402

Food program only

Licensed providers can also get reimbursed for some of the expense of feeding the children in their care. Here's a partial list of insurance and food program providers. Hennepin County provides this list as a courtesy and does not endorse or ensure the quality of these programs.

Child Care and Nutrition, Inc. (CCNI)
PO Box 138
Ivanhoe MN 56142
1-800-634-3359

MLFCCA Child Care Food Program
1821 University Ave N Suite 324
St Paul, MN 55104
651-636-1989

Provider’s Choice
PO Box 39813
Minneapolis, MN 55439-0813
952-944-7010

Adults and Childrens Alliance (ACA)
2885 Country Drive, Suite 165
St. Paul, MN 55117-2621
1-800-433-8108

Insurance program only

First Choice Insurance Services
11923 Central Avenue NE
Blaine, MN 55434
763-792-3555

The Freisinger Group, Inc
PO Box 1656
La Crosse, WI 54602
800-658-9449

MN Underwriting Association
PO Box 1760
St Paul, MN 55101
651-222-0484

Program Managers
1001 Cliff Rd E
Burnsville, MN 55337
952-707-8674

For applicants

Orientation meetings

To be considered for licensure, you must attend a 2-hour large group meeting. The meeting covers licensing rules, process and other information.

  • Do not bring children as there is no child care.
  • Applications are available only at these meetings.
  • Pre-registration is not required. Sign in at the door.
  • Anyone arriving late won't be admitted, and must attend another meeting.

Upcoming meetings

Please check back for any additions or changes to the meeting location, date or time.

September 18, 2014 
1:05 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Southdale – Ethel Berry Conference Room
7001 York Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55435

November 10, 2014
1:05 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Ridgedale Library – RHR Conference Room
12601 Ridgedale Drive
Minnetonka, MN 55305

January 8, 2015
1:05 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Brookdale Library – Conference Room ABC
6125 Shingle Creek Parkway
Brooklyn Park, MN 55430

Application process

The licensing process will take a minimum of 6 to 9 months. Completed applications are processed in the order they are received.

Application packet

Complete and mail the packet with a check for $150 made out to Hennepin County. Incomplete packets including those with no check will be returned. A complete application includes:

  • Child care licensing application
  • Background study notice and consent forms (for everyone living or working in the day care)
  • Safety checklist
  • Physician’s report
  • Landlord permission form (if you don’t own the property)
  • Check or money order for $150 made out to Hennepin County

Small group meeting

You'll learn about many of the specific child care licensing requirements and have the opportunity to ask questions. You will receive a second packet of forms to complete and return. You will also receive instructions on completing a child care licensing fire inspection.

Background study

 This is a process that includes everyone living and working in the child care home and reference checks.

Complete these items for your first home visit:

  • Three references
  • Fire inspection
  • Small group packet forms
  • Background checks done by Hennepin County Child Care Licensing

Home visit by a licensor

The licensor will visit you at your home and will determine any necessary corrections before you're eligible to be licensed. Multiple home visits might be required.

License recommendation

Once you and your home are in full compliance with child care licensing rules, the county will recommend that the Minnesota Department of Human Services issue your license.

Barriers to licensure can include:

  • Background checks - everyone in your household or working in the day care must receive clearance. The Minnesota Department of Human Services processes disqualifications, which will take more time.
  • Fences - locations near heavy traffic, railroads, or water hazards such as ponds, marshes, or lakes may require a fence that meets city code and licensing requirements.
  • Pools and water features - swimming pools or water features in your yard must be separated from children’s outdoor play space by fencing that meets city code and licensing requirements.
  • Fire inspections and safety requirements - you may need to make changes to your home after fire or licensing inspections.
  • Your house - we will check all areas of your house and property for certain safety items.

Public information about you

With the exception of personal information and personal financial data, information classified as public will be shared with others upon request such as your name, address, phone number, licensed capacity, and type of children preferred, as well as any information about complaints filed about your child care, disqualifications or negative actions. We are required by law to share public information with interested persons who call to inquire about your business.

Your day care file may be used in several ways:

  • Information about you that is classified as private will be shared with the Department of Human Services to assist it in granting or denying your license.
  • Public information about you can be shared with parents considering placement of their child in your day care home.
  • Information about you may be used for studies related to family day care, but your name or any identifying information would not be revealed.
  • Information about you can be shared with community child care referral sources, with your permission.
  • No information will be given to any other agency or individual without your consent; however, state and federal law can have exceptions including a court order for release of information, or a criminal or civil investigation about you as a day care provider.
  • After a limited period of time when you are no longer licensed, your file will be destroyed.

Your rights

You have the right to view your licensing file (except for information that is legally classified as confidential, or private information collected on other household members). You also have the right to have its meaning explained to you if you wish.

If you want to see your file:

  • Talk to your licensing worker. Ask about seeing your day care file, and request the form to see it.
  • Complete the written request provided by your worker. A time will then be arranged for you to review your file within 10 business days.
  • At any time, you can request copies of any papers in your file. You will then be required to pay copying costs.

Your right to challenge

If you find inaccurate information in your file, notify your licensing worker in writing. Within 30 days the county must correct the information and attempt to notify anyone who has received inaccurate information in the past, including anyone you name. If the county maintains that the data is correct, it must notify you. After that, to use any data you challenge, the county must attach your explanation.

In general, if you have questions about your data privacy rights or believe they may have been violated, please contact our licensing staff. If you are not satisfied with the response, you can contact the Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner.

Your privacy and others

During the licensing study, you will also receive a copy of our brochure entitled "Your Rights to Equal Access and Privacy." This will give you more details about your privacy rights. If you have any questions about these rights, please discuss them with your licensing worker. Your privacy is a legal right, but respect and concern for personal privacy is an important consideration for everyone. As a day care provider, we expect you will keep private any information that you may learn about children in day care and their families. This contributes to the essential atmosphere of trust and respect among day care providers, Hennepin County, and families. Respect for privacy means respect for people. And, that goes beyond legal rights.

For parents

Referrals

Think Small provides individualized referrals reflecting a family’s preferences—location by schools, openings by age, hours and days of care, program information, and special services. Visit the Think Small family referral website.

The Minnesota Child Care Resource and Referral Network has an online database of licensed homes and centers. Visit the Child Care Resource and Referral Network.

The Department of Human Services Licensing Information Lookup is a simple online search tool. Use the licensing information lookup tool.

Assistance with evaluating child care programs

For complaints about providers

To file a complaint or check on complaint records call

  • Hennepin County: 612-348-3883.
  • Statewide: 651-296-3971.

Other important numbers

  • Child protection concern: call 612-348-3552
  • Emergencies: call 911
  • Unlicensed provider operating illegally: call 612-348-3883

Complaints are confidential

Hennepin County is required to investigate possible violations of child care licensing rules. This is usually done face-to-face with the provider. Once the investigation is complete, one of these findings is made:

  • Occurred: Facts in the complaint were found to be true. This could result in a correction order, negative action, or some other form of correction as deemed appropriate by the licensor, the county attorney, and the program supervisor. A negative action would only be taken in the most serious cases.
  • Did not occur: Complaint found to be false. Usually no further action is taken.
  • Unable to determine: County unable to determine whether the facts alleged were true. Licensing staff might offer suggestions or corrections if warranted.

After the complaint is filed, all complaints are retained in the licensing file

The Minnesota Data Privacy Act prevents the county from releasing certain information about the complaint, such as any identifying information about who made the complaint. The nature of the complaints considered public information once the investigation is complete. State law requires the county to release the basic complaint information, the results of the investigation, and whether or not any corrective action was taken as a result. Parents can contact the provider if they want more information.

Providers have the right to give input into the process

The provider has the right to appeal a correction or negative action if they believe it is incorrect. Under the licensing rule, the licensor has the right to enter your home at any time the child care program is in operation. The provider may opt not to talk with the licensor, although this may result in a substantiated finding, since most often the provider is the primary source of information.

Training

Requirements

Classroom and online training

Contact your licensor for additional approved training not listed here.

Online resources

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