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In California, childcare providers are licensed through the Department of Social Services (CDSS), Community Care Licensing Division. Providers caring for children from more than one family are required to be licensed.

Obtaining a Child Care License is required by California law to ensure the health and safety of children in care. The process includes steps such as the submission of required application forms, criminal background check, required health and safety training, an inspection of the home or center, as well as other required steps to establish the facility meets required health and safety standards.

The information below provides a quick reference guide to help get you started. If you have more questions or need more support you can contact the SCC R&R Program by calling 669-212-KIDS (5437) or by sending an email to

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Thinking About Becoming a Licensed Childcare Provider?

The SCC R&R Program can help you get started with the process. We offer application assistance, guidance in preparing your home for a pre-licensing site visit, business and child development workshops, and other support resources. If you need support with the process or have additional questions, call the SCC R&R Program at 669-212-KIDS (5437) or email if you need assistance.

What is Family Child Care?

Family childcare is childcare in your home for any part of a 24-hour day. It may be part-time or full-time for infants through school-age children. Childcare is provided consistently by a provider who works with a small group to establish trusting relationships while parents/families have a need for childcare.

Questions to Consider

  • Do you enjoy being with children?
  • Are you willing to allow children the freedom to explore and use your home?
  • Are you knowledgeable about child development or willing to learn more?
  • Are you ready to be a professional business owner?
  • Are you willing to meet all the licensing requirements?

How do I get Licensed?

A state licensing process is required for any provider caring for children of more than one other family. We recommend that you speak to or visit a provider to see if this is a career for you. If you want to start your own childcare small business, keep the following in mind:

  • You must be 18 years of age or older to become licensed.
  • Complete an online licensing orientation, which can be found on the CDSS Community Care Licensing website. Check the website for current orientation fees.
  • Complete courses in CPR & first aid (8 hours) and preventative health & safety (8 hours total, with nutrition and lead poisoning prevention).
  • Obtain proof of immunizations (influenza, pertussis, measles).
  • Complete online Mandated Child Abuse Reporting training.
  • Prepare you home by creating a safe learning environment for children.
  • Prepare for a site visit by the Community Care Licensing analyst.
  • Submit a completed application to the Community Care Licensing Regional office with all the required forms, including LiveScan, TB test, and criminal record clearance for all persons 18 or over who live in the home. The regional office information is below:

San Jose Child Care Regional Office
2580 North First Street, Suite 300
San Jose, CA 95131
Phone (408) 324-2148
Fax (408) 324-2160

Oakland Regional Office
1515 Clay Street, Suite 1102
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 622-2602
(Only for the following cities: Los Altos, Los Altos Hills,
Mountain View, Palo Alto, Stanford, Milpitas, Alviso)


Community Care Licensing – Application Documents and Resources 

Family Child Care Homes

Child Care Centers

More Resources

CDSS Community Care Licensing Video Resource Library 

Child Care Licensing Laws and Advocate Programs

CPR/First Aid and Health and Safety Training 

Fingerprint/Live Scan Locations

Mandated Reporter Training

General Resources for Becoming a Licensed Provider