Licensed family child care

Family child care is generally provided in the caregiver’s home and no more than 14 children can be cared for at any one time.

Licensing child care helps protect the health and safety of children by requiring that providers meet minimum standards for care and physical environment. State law delegates to counties the licensure of family child care programs.


Your Child’s Safety in Licensed Family Child Care
This document DHS-5215 (PDF)
highlights some of the vital health and safety requirements that licensed family child care providers must follow and provides information on what you should do if you have any questions or concerns.

Concerns or questions
If you have questions or concerns about family child care, please contact your respective county child care agency DHS-0005 (PDF).


Provider updates

New draft background study guidance released (February 2018)
Minnesota Statutes, section 245C.03 outlines who is required to have a background study. This is a draft guidance document (PDF) to determine whether you must obtain a background study because of your involvement with a licensed family child care program. If you would like to offer feedback about ways this guidance document can be improved, please send an email to by June 1, 2018. A final version of this guidance will be posted this summer. As a reminder, enhanced background studies are not available at this time – a draft implementation plan will be posted soon.

Electronic Licensing Checklist—Information for Providers
All family child care licensors are now using the new Electronic Licensing Inspection Checklist Information (ELICI) tool to document inspections that they complete for family child care programs. This tool guides licensors through their monitoring activities for all inspections including, pre-licensing, licensing and re-licensing, off-year, change of premise, investigations, drop-in visits, and monitoring of a conditional license. After the monitoring inspection is complete, the licensor will use the ELICI tool to generate the appropriate notice, which may be a “no violation letter” that indicates that no violations were determined, a fix-it ticket, or a correction order.

All of the checklist items programmed into ELICI are from the rule and statutes governing family child care licensure in Minnesota: Rule 2—Minnesota Rules, parts 9502.0300 to 9502.0445; Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 245A (Human Services Licensing Act); Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 245C (Human Services Background Studies Act); and Minnesota Statutes, section 626.556 (Maltreatment of Minors Act). These are the same requirements with the addition of items added by the 2017 Legislature that county licensors have previously monitored for.

The Family Systems Licensing Checklist (PDF) was created to inform family child care providers and applicants of the specific items their county licensor will monitor for on certain visit types. Prior to licensing and re-licensing visits, child care providers will continue to complete a form and submit it to their licensors. The form has been modified and renamed the Family Systems Family Child Care Monitoring Questionnaire (PDF) (formerly named the Family Child Care Licensing Checklist).

There are four visit types to be used by licensors in ELICI that have specific requirements identified for monitoring. On the left hand side of the PDF Family Systems Licensing Checklist are columns for several visit types. If there is a check mark by the item, this means that the item will be monitored for on that type of visit. The chart also displays the applicable rule part or statute reference where the item may be found as well as the text of the rule requirement straight from the electronic checklist.

The following are the visit types licensors will use that have a specific list of requirements identified in ELICI:

· Licensing/Re-Licensing (LI)

· Off-year inspection (Of)

· Change of premise inspection (Ch)

· Pre-licensure visit (Pr)

The back office (BA) visit type will not be used. The BA list was created to house parts of the rule or statute requirements that are not part of any of the checklists.

New Family Child Care Monitoring Questionnaire
A new Family Child Care Monitoring Questionnaire (PDF) has replaced the Family Child Care Licensing Checklist. New applicants and providers who are due for re-licensing will be asked by their licensor to complete the new questionnaire.

Form to Request an Expedited Correction Order Reconsideration
Complete and submit the Family Child Care Request for Expedited Correction Order Reconsideration form (PDF) to request that DHS expedite your correction order reconsideration. This is for family child care providers challenging a violation for which the corrective action would require a substantial expenditure of funds or a significant change to their program.

Kidde Fire Extinguisher Recall – November 2017

DHS is recommending that providers check their extinguisher(s) to determine if they are affected by the recall. If their extinguisher is affected, DHS recommends that providers follow the instructions provided by Kidde. If a provider chooses to purchase an additional fire extinguisher while they wait to receive their new one from Kidde, they may do so but are not required to purchase a new one.

Implementation of 2017 Legislative Changes
The 2017 Legislature made a number of changes affecting family child programs. The
Implementation Plan for 2017 Legislative Changes Impacting Licensed Family Child Care (PDF) has information about how each of these changes will be implemented. Each section of the plan includes the new statutory language, an overview of the change, what family child care providers need to do to meet new requirements and how county licensors will monitor compliance with the new requirements. The plan also includes links to new or revised forms for providers and parents, including the Admission and Arrangements form (PDF), a new Allergy Information form (PDF), the Keeping Kids Safe emergency planning guide DHS-7414 (PDF), and the Child Care Emergency Plan template (PDF) or (Word DOC).

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


For comments or suggestions about the plan, email DHS at

Additional 2017 legislative information
This is a summary 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. (July 2017)

Immunization records clarification
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has issued a clarification on documentation needed (PDF) to meet the immunization documentation requirement. MDH created the Child Care Immunization Form (PDF) to help parents and child care providers collect all of the information required by law.

ALERT: Scam letter targets family child care providers
DHS has been informed of a scam letter being mailed to family child care providers licensed in Washington County. The letter alleges sexual abuse of an unidentified child at the child care and demands a payment or the sender will contact police. More information about the scam and what you should do if you receive such a letter is in an alert. (August 2017)

Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG)

CCDBG letter
This letter was sent to the email address on file for your license. If we did not have an email address, it was sent via mail. The letter informs license holders about the Child Care and Development Block Grant and changes affecting licensed family child care providers 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 that affect licensed family child care providers in Minnesota:

  • CCDBG for Minnesota Licensed Family Child Care Providers (video)

  • General forms

    These are the forms you will need to complete as part of your ongoing work as a provider.

  • Family child care application (PDF)
  • Special family child care application (PDF)
  • Family child care admission and arrangements (PDF)
  • Family child care liability insurance notice to parents/guardians (PDF)
  • Family child care licensing checklist (PDF)
  • Monthly crib inspection form (PDF)
  • Parental consent for swaddling an infant DHS-7218 (PDF)
  • Physician directive for alternative infant sleep position DHS-7216 (PDF)
  • Optional form for parent statement: Infant less than six months of age regularly rolling over DHS-7219 (PDF)
  • Family Child Care Allergy Information Form
  • Family Child Care Fix-It Ticket Form (1-18) (PDF)
  • 2018 New Licensing Requirements and Technical Assistance Checklist (1-18) (PDF)
  • Family Systems Licensing Checklist (2-18) (PDF)
  • Family Systems Family Child Care Monitoring Questionnaire (2-18) (PDF)
  • Family Child Care Request for Expedited Correction Order Reconsideration form (2-18) (PDF)

  • 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) (Word DOC) to prepare a plan that will provide guidance for providers and other caregivers regarding how to plan for and handle emergency situations.


    Learn more about family child care provider training requirements.

  • Training requirements for licensed family child care providers (March 2018)
  • Minnesota Center for Professional Development provides a gateway to professional development tools and resource
  • Sudden Unexpected Infant Death/Abusive Head Trauma videos

  • Provider questions

    Submit questions to the Licensing Division for review. These provider questions allow the Licensing Division to determine where more clarification on licensing requirements can be provided. Previously asked questions and answers are available here.

    Frequently asked questions
    Learn more
    about the application process for family child care licensure, health and safety requirements, space requirements and other issues.

    Family child care providers can refer to questions and answers about training requirements.

    Safe sleep
    Learn more about safe sleep practices.

  • Family child care provider memo re: infant deaths (May 2012) (PDF)
  • Report – Review of Child Deaths in MN Licensed Family Child Care Homes (1/02 – 8/12) DHS-4189F (PDF)
  • Infant Mortality Review

  • Wading and swimming pools
    Learn about the risks of wading and swimming pools at child care homes and access pool permission forms.

  • Parent swimming letter (PDF)
  • Fact sheet – risks of wading pools at child care homes (PDF)
  • Fact sheet – risks of swimming pools at child care homes (PDF)
  • Wading pool letter and parent permission form (PDF)
  • Swimming pool parent permission form (PDF)
  • Best practices guide for wading pools/pool questions and answers DHS-7668B (PDF)

  • Other
    Poisonous Plants and Family Child Care (Aug. 2016) (PDF)

    Family child care statutes and rules

    Licensed family child care operates according to these rules and statutes:

  • Rule 2: Minnesota Rules, parts 9502.0300 to 9502.0445 – Licensure of Family Child Care Facilities - Family and Group Family Child Care
  • 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 family child care licensing information by email

    Family child care providers can now subscribe to receive important information, including legislative changes, from DHS Licensing.

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

    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.

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