The state of Minnesota licenses child care to protect the health, safety, and individual rights of the children in care. Child care licensure is mandated in law and ensures that licensed programs provide healthy and safe settings that meet quality standards.
In Minnesota, licensed child care is provided through either child care centers or family child care.
• 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, and staff qualifications and training requirements.• Family child care is generally provided in the caregiver’s home with no more than 14 children cared for at any one time.
Each licensed family child care provider and licensed child care center must apply for a license from the Minnesota Department of Human Services. A license to provide child care will be approved once the facility/program meets required standards. In addition, all staff must pass a background study.
Once a child care program is licensed and providing care, licensors will visit the program at least once every two years to ensure providers are meeting the licensing requirements. Licensors also visit to investigate complaints.
Monitoring and enforcing licensing requirements
Learn more about how licensed child care programs are monitored and how licensing requirements are enforced: Child care licensing: Monitoring child care compliance with standards DHS-6385 (PDF)
Licensing Information Lookup
This search tool provides information, including monitoring results, on licensed family child care homes and licensed child care centers.
Minnesota requires child care providers to attend trainings and meet requirements on health, safety and fire standards.
Licensed child care providers must pass a background study prior to providing child care. Learn more about background study requirements and what could disqualify someone from providing child care.
Child Care Assistance Program
The Minnesota’s Child Care Assistance Program helps make quality child care affordable for income-eligible families.
Parent Aware gives parents tools and information to find the best quality child care and early education.
Child Care Aware of Minnesota
Child Care Aware of Minnesota offers resources for families searching for child care programs and for professionals in the child care field.
Additional information about changes to immunization requirements can be found in a brochure (PDF) produced by the Minnesota Department of Health and this Child Care Immunization Form (PDF).
These are the forms and templates you may need to complete as part of your ongoing work.
The Child and Adult Care Food Program reimburses child care homes for a maximum of two meals and one snack, or one meal and two snacks, per day per eligible child younger than 11 years.
Child Care and Development Block Grant
Learn about the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014 and the required changes to licensed child care.
DHS Translation Services
Translation services are available to you along with interpretation services and multilingual referral lines.
DHS Accessibility Services
Access information about web resources for individuals with disabilities, including accessible technology options.
Reporting Maltreatment and Licensing Violation Concerns
To report unsafe conditions at a licensed family child care program, contact your county/tribal child care licensing agency (PDF).
To report unsafe conditions at a licensed child care center, contact the Department’s Licensing Division at 651-431-6600.
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