Licensed child care centers

A child care center, generally, is characterized by:

  • • A location other than the provider’s or caregiver’s home
  • • Larger numbers of children being cared for
  • • Staff qualifications and training requirements

  • Licensing child care helps protect the health and safety of children by requiring that providers meet minimum standards for care and physical environment. The Department of Human Services is responsible for licensing and monitoring child care centers for compliance with licensing requirements.


    Frequently asked questions for families
    Learn more
    about outdoor play time, licensing requirements, and what to do if you have concerns.

    Your Child’s Safety in Licensed Child Care: Child Care Centers
    The Your Child’s Safety in Licensed Child Care Centers brochure DHS-6170 (PDF) highlights the general health and safety requirements licensed child care centers must meet. Additionally, it provides information on staffing, program policies and how to apply for a license.

    Concerns or questions
    If you have questions or concerns about licensed child care, please contact the Minnesota Department of Human Services at 651-431-6500.


    Provider updates

    As part of the new CCDF requirements, every state will need to report aggregate data on instances of deaths, serious injuries, and substantiated maltreatment. In order for Minnesota to comply with this federal requirement, we need to gather data from licensed child care centers regarding serious injuries and deaths in a different way.

    We will no longer use the Child Care Center Injury/Incident Report Form. Beginning immediately, centers must use this fillable Child Care Center Serious Injury and Death Reporting Form (PDF) (Word DOC) to report any serious injury or death of a child in care to the Department of Human Services (DHS), Licensing Division.

    Please note: The PDF version is the preferred version for centers to use since it will automatically create an email and attach the completed form once the submit button is clicked if you are using Internet explorer, otherwise please right-click and download the form and open it using Adobe Reader. If you need to use the Word DOC version, you will have to manually attach the completed form to the email before sending.

    The 2017 Legislature made a number of changes affecting child care centers. The Guidance Document for Licensed Child Care Centers (PDF) provides information on each licensing change impacting centers enacted during the legislative session. This document is to help you understand how to come into compliance with the new requirements. Each section of this document contains the statutory language, an overview of the new or changed licensing requirement, and what centers need to do to comply with each new requirement (if any action is needed). (November 2017)

    If you have questions about how to comply with a new requirement after reading the guidance document, please contact your licensor.

    2017 legislation information
    The 2017 Legislature made a number of statutory changes for programs licensed by DHS. These are only summaries of the changes enacted and may not reflect all changes to laws that impact licensed programs. For full requirements, please refer to the applicable law in Minnesota statute. Legislation includes changes to background study requirements for all child care providers to comply with the reauthorized federal Child Care Development Block Grant. Additional information is in frequently asked questions about child care background studies.

    Sign up to receive licensing information by email
    Child care providers can now subscribe to the Child Care Centers provider email list to receive important information, including legislative changes, from DHS. (August 2017)

    Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG)

    CCDBG letter
    This letter was sent to the authorized agent email address on file for your license. The letter informs license holders about the Child Care and Development Block Grant and changes affecting licensed child care centers in Minnesota.

  • February 2017 CCDBG letter to licensed child care providers (PDF)
  • CCDBG video
    This video explains the Child Care and Development Block Grant changes affecting licensed child care centers in Minnesota:

  • CCDBG for Minnesota Licensed Child Care Centers (video)
  • Frequently asked questions for providers

    Learn more about capacity requirements, staff qualifications, and how to make changes to your license in these frequently asked questions.

    Emergency planning documents

    The Minnesota State Child Care Emergency Plan DHS-7415 (PDF) and Keeping Kids Safe emergency planning guide DHS-7414 (PDF) prioritize the health and safety of children in preparation for and response to emergencies and disasters.

    Providers can use this fillable emergency plan template (PDF) or (Word DOC) to prepare a plan that will provide guidance for providers and other caregivers regarding how to plan for and handle emergency situations.

    Licensing forms

    When accessing these forms, please either use Internet Explorer or right click, save as and then open the document using Adobe Reader

    These are the forms that you will need to complete as part of your ongoing work, including:

  • Application for license DHS-7118 (PDF) Jan. 2016
  • Document list (PDF) Nov. 2015
  • Equipment and supplies form – Infant DHS-4943 (PDF) Sept. 2002
  • Equipment and supplies form – Preschool DHS-4945 (PDF) Sept. 2002
  • Equipment and supplies form – School age DHS-4946 (PDF) Sept. 2002
  • Equipment and supplies form – Toddler DHS-4944 (PDF) Sept. 2002
  • Experienced aide report DHS-5271 (PDF) Jan. 2018
  • Floor plan DHS-4958 (PDF) Jan. 2007
  • Guidelines for developing policies and procedures (PDF) Jan. 2018
  • Health care summary (PDF) Jan. 2001
  • Immunization record (PDF) Dec. 2013
  • Serious Injury & Death report form (PDF) Jan. 2018
  • Serious Injury & Death report form (Word DOC) Jan. 2018
  • Maltreatment of minors mandated reporting policy form DHS-7634A (PDF) Jan. 2018
  • Monthly crib safety inspection form (PDF) Aug. 2013
  • Optional form for parent statement: Infant less than six months of age regularly rolling over DHS-7219 (PDF) March 2014
  • Orientation Checklist (PDF) Jan. 2018
  • Parental consent for swaddling an infant DHS-7218 (PDF) July 2013
  • Personnel information form (PIF) (PDF) March 2018
  • Physician directive for alternative infant sleep position DHS-7216 (PDF) July 2013
  • Risk reduction plan sample form (PDF) Nov. 2012
  • Separation report DHS-5862 (PDF) July 2009
  • Staffing patterns (PDF) Nov. 2015
  • Staff-in Service Training Record DHS-4679 (PDF) Jan 2018
  • Summary of personnel information (PDF) April 2018
  • Unqualified substitute report (PDF) Jan. 2001
  • Variance request DHS-3141 (PDF) April 2016

  • Positive Supports Rule forms

  • Child Care Emergency Use of Manual Restraint Allowed Policy Sample (PDF) Nov. 2016
  • Child Care Emergency Use of Manual Restraint NOT Allowed Policy Sample (PDF) Nov. 2016
  • Guide to the Positive Supports Rule (PDF) Nov. 2016
  • Individual CC Program Plan for PSR Sample Form (PDF) Nov. 2016
  • Individual CC Program Plan 6-mo Evaluation Sample Form (PDF) Nov. 2016
  • Sample Training Record Form for Positive Supports Rule DHS 6810E (PDF)

  • Guidance

  • Licensing checklist (April 2018) (PDF)
  • Technical Assistance Checklist for New Licensing Requirements(Feb.2018)
  • List of accepted post-secondary courses (PDF) to determine teacher and assistant teacher qualifications in licensed child care centers (Feb. 2016)
  • Reportable communicable diseases (Jan. 2017)
  • Guidance Document for Licensed Child Care Centers (PDF)(Nov. 2017)

  • Food license may also be required

    Some child care centers may need to apply for and obtain a food license. More information is available on the Minnesota Department of Health website: Food, Beverage and Lodging (FBL) License and Food Manager Certification.

    Child care center statutes and rules

    Child care centers are licensed and monitored according to the following rules and statutes:

  • Rule 3: Minnesota Rules, parts 9503.0005 to 9503.0170 – Licensure of Child Care Centers.
  • Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 245A (Human Services Licensing Act)
  • Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 245C (Human Services Background Studies Act)
  • Minnesota Statutes, section 626.556 (Maltreatment of Minors Act)
  • Sign up to receive child care licensing information by email

    Child care centers can now subscribe to receive important information, including legislative changes, by email. The information will be periodically sent from DHS Licensing.

    Do not reply to emails sent to you, as they will not be read or forwarded for handling. Your email address is used only to deliver the information you requested.

    Email Updates
    To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please enter your contact information below.
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