People who enjoy fostering child development may be interested in launching a daycare. Parents rely on these businesses to care for children during the daytime hours. The state of Missouri requires daycares to secure a license. Prospective daycare owners also need to purchase the required supplies to set up the daycare and create a healthy environment for children.

Meet Missouri’s minimum qualifications. Daycare owners don’t need formal training in child care or education. However, these professionals must be at least 18 years old.

Request application materials. The state of Missouri requires daycare owners to apply for a license. Contact the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Section for Child Care Regulation at 573-751-2450 to request application materials.

Pass a national background check. Applicants operating a home daycare need to pass a background check, which searches criminal records for Missouri and all other states. Other residents of the home will also need to pass a background check. Daycare facilities (not operated in the home) will need to have the owner and employees pass a background check.

Purchase supplies. Daycares need to purchase supplies such as sleeping items (cribs, nap mats and blankets). The daycare will also need to purchase safety devices, such as child gates and outlet covers. Home daycares need to safeguard bodies of water, like spas and pools, with locks or gates. Other supplies, such as developmental toys, books, art supplies and outdoor playtime toys, also should be purchased.

Meet ratio requirements. Missouri has strict guidelines for adult-to-child ratios. For example, children up to 18 months of age must have one adult present for every four children. Preschool children, ages 3 to 4 years, must have one adult present for every 10 children. Contact the state to find ratios for the age group you plan on caring for at 573-751-2450.


File a renewal for the daycare license at least 60 days prior to the expiration date. This will ensure the application is processed and there isn’t a lapse in licensure.


Don’t forget to count your own children when determining ratios for the child care. For example, a daycare owner planning on caring for children younger than 18 months can care for four children. If she already has one child, she can care for three additional children.