A home daycare is a nice small-business venture for someone who loves working with kids. But the licensing process can be tedious. In addition to filling out the initial application, there are several other documents required to start a home daycare center.

Criminal Background Checks

Most states require criminal background checks to be on file for the home daycare applicant and anyone else older than 18 living in the household. The daycare licensing agency will provide all the necessary paperwork needed to submit to the state and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). Costs for these background checks (including fingerprinting) can be up to $100 per person. All fees associated with the background checks are the responsibility of the home daycare applicant.

Proof of Education and Training

A high school diploma is required to start a home daycare center. Some states also require a specified number of child care training hours and current documentation of pediatric cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training and first aid. Child care training can be obtained at local community colleges or at approved early childhood training workshops. CPR and first aid training can be obtained at a local chapter of the American Red Cross. There also might be hospitals in your area that offer CPR and first aid training as well.

Physical Exam and TB Test

Caring for kids in your home requires a lot of physical labor and close contact, and you need to be healthy enough to manage the task. For this reason, state licensing agencies require documentation from a medical professional to prove you have passed a physical examination and a tuberculosis (TB) test. A TB test also might be required for other members living in the household.

Fire Inspection

Written documentation of a cleared fire inspection is required to open a home daycare center. During the inspection, the fire marshal will check to see if you have a working fire extinguisher and smoke detector in your home daycare area.


There is no national standard for daycare licensing; each state sets its own licensing regulations. So document requirements will vary from state to state. Although the requirement to have a high school diploma before you open a home daycare is commonplace in most states, other documentation such as child care training, CPR, first aid, proof of fire inspection, physical exam, TB test and criminal background checks might not be required in every state. A written copy of the home daycare licensing standards in your state can be obtained from your state department of human services.