Family child care providers support families and help kids learn, play and grow. Learn more about the process to become a licensed provider.
The first step to becoming licensed is to complete the required Hennepin County orientation.
Allow 30 minutes to complete the self-paced online orientation. You must complete the online orientation to receive an application packet by email. Note: If you exit the orientation without finishing it, you will have to start over.
Access the online orientation.
Once you have completed the orientation and sent the required email to the automated location, you will be sent an application packet by email.
Currently, the licensing process will take a minimum of 3 to 6 months. Completed applications are processed in the order they are received.
Once you receive the packet, follow the instructions included with the packet to complete and return. There is a $50 non-refundable application fee required to process the application. Incomplete packets, including those with no check, will be returned. A checklist is provided in your packet as reference.
Training for applicants
Prior to obtaining your license, any caregiver must complete specific training approved by Achieve, the Minnesota Center for Professional Development.
Find a complete list of training required by DHS: Training requirements for licensed family child care (PDF)
- Develop – find required trainings and track your completed trainings
- Think Small – other classes and training information
- CPR Twin Cities – additional source for CPR and first aid training. Call 651-699-3333.
Background studies are completed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services Background Studies Division through NETStudy 2.0. Background studies are required for anyone age 13 and older living or working in the family child care setting. Additional fees apply for each person needing a background study.
Once your application packet is received and your background studies have cleared, you will receive an email with the applicant and fire inspection questionnaire.
In the DHS orientation modules, you will learn about child care licensing requirements and answer the questions in the questionnaire. You will also be asked to complete questions that will help us determine if you need a fire inspection.
Additional items to complete
These additional items must be completed and received in order to be assigned to a licensing worker.
- Three references – Hennepin County will send the reference letter directly to each non-relative reference you provide in the application packet
- Fire inspection – Hennepin County will provide you with the appropriate documentation and forms needed for your fire inspection, if a fire inspection is required.
- Licensing packet forms – Hennepin County will provide you with the appropriate documentation and forms needed to complete the licensing packet
Virtual and home appointments with licensor
The licensor will meet with you in a virtual meeting and visit you at your proposed child care site/home and will determine any necessary corrections before you're eligible to be licensed. We will check all areas of your home and property for certain safety items.
Once you and your home are in full compliance with child care licensing rules and statutes, 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.
Read more in the data privacy notice (PDF).