People who enjoy spending time with children and have an interest in child development may choose to launch a daycare business. For parents staying home with children, this can be a way to supplement income. Daycare owners have the flexibility of starting a part-time or full-time business caring for children. The state of Tennessee has specific requirements for prospective daycare owners. An owner must secure a license and pass an inspection and background check before launching this business.

Meet minimum qualifications. Tennessee requires daycare owners to be at least 18 years or older and be able to read and write. The owner must also have a high school diploma or equivalent (such as a GED).

Request application materials. Contact the Tennessee Department of Human Services Adult and Family Services Division (see Resources) to request application materials. Complete the forms and mail to the address listed on the application materials.

Pass an inspection. Tennessee requires daycares to meet safety and health requirements. An inspection is required to ensure daycares are in compliance. After receiving application materials, the state of Tennessee will contact the daycare owner to set up an inspection date.

Complete a background check. Daycare owners need to pass a criminal background check. Home daycares must submit a background check for other adults living in the home. A history of criminal activity may prevent the applicant from securing a daycare license. Print and complete the background check form, available at the Tennessee Department of Human Services Adult and Family Services Division’s website (see Resources).

Purchase the necessary supplies. Daycares need to purchase developmentally appropriate toys, such as puzzles, books, art supplies and other appropriate items. Sleeping supplies, such as cribs and nap mats, should also be purchased. Decide if you want to provide blankets and crib linens or if the parents should provide each child with a set of items and launder each week.


Daycare owners must renew the daycare license annually. This will include completing a renewal application (sent by the state of Tennessee to the applicant each year) and passing an additional inspection.


Pay attention to ratio requirements. If a daycare owner plans on caring for her own children, she must count the children in the state's child-to-adult ratio. For example, children that are younger than 18 months must have one adult to every four children. If the owner has one child, she can care for three more.