How do I Start a Family Daycare in San Diego?

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Starting a family daycare business in San Diego can be an exciting career that allows you to work with children from the comfort of your own home. Any family daycare center that cares for unrelated children from more than one family is required to be licensed by the State of California. Childcare services must be provided for less than 24 hours at a time and must be non-medical in nature. The California State Community Care Licensing Division (CCLD) Office licenses and regulates all California family daycare providers and has several offices located throughout the State of California. The Mission Valley Regional Office services the San Diego area.

Ensure that you meet the minimum criteria (see references) for opening a family daycare in San Diego California. This criteria includes being able to pass a background investigation, having available operating funds and supplies, good record keeping skills and the ability to adhere to the licensing requirements of California. You will also need to take 15 hours of pediatric CPR, First Aid and preventive health and safety training and obtain a TB test from your physician or local health department.

Read the Manual of Policies and Procedures for Family Child Care Homes (see resources). This manual contains information that will help ensure that your San Diego family daycare meets licensing requirements. You may need to make some changes to your home to ensure that your home meets all safety criteria.

Download and print the California Child Care Home Licensing Regulation Highlights and the License Application and Instructions for Family Child Care Homes Packet (see resources). These documents provide an overview of what you can expect when you start a family daycare in San Diego and all of the application forms necessary to initiate the licensing process. You will need to complete these forms and bring them with you to your orientation.

Attend the mandatory family daycare orientation class. You will need to find the local California Community Care Licensing Division office in San Diego and register for the orientation class prior to attending. You will be required to pay a non-refundable $25 fee for this orientation.

Pass the home inspection that will be conducted by the CCLD office. Your home will be inspected to ensure that it meets cleanliness and safety requirements before you obtain your license to operate a family daycare in San Diego. The home inspection will be scheduled by a Licensing Program Analyst after you have attended orientation. You will be notified by the CCLD office once your application has been approved and you are able to begin providing care in your home.

Advertise your new daycare business in a variety of mediums to gain exposure. It is a good idea to set aside some funds for your advertising budget. A carefully planned advertising campaign will ensure that you get the customers you need to become successful in the family daycare business.


  • Starting a family daycare in San Diego takes time; be sure to begin the licensing process as early as possible.


  • Make sure that you are willing to meet all of the criteria necessary to operate a family daycare prior to applying.



About the Author

Ginger Kelly has been an accomplished professional writer since 1997. She began her career writing for school newsletters and newspapers, then moved on to community newspapers. Kelly has written various articles on a variety of topics ranging from parenting to health care. She is a paralegal graduate of Blackstone College.

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