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How to Start Your Own Daycare Center in Pennsylvania

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Many parents are faced with the problem of finding quality care for their children so that they can work. If you are facing this problem, you may want to consider starting a daycare center. Starting a daycare in Pennsylvania is relatively easy, especially when compared with the strict requirements in other states. Pennsylvania requires that those wishing to start a daycare become licensed and operate safely. Licensing is fast and the process is simple, allowing new daycare centers to open up quickly and with little upfront expense.

Decide where you will hold your daycare. In Pennsylvania, a day care in a home requires different licensing and regulations than one in a commercial childcare facility. To start your day care, you'll need to first decide how many children you plan to care for and whether you will operate out of your home.

Determine what kind of license you'll need. If you plan to operate out of your home, you will need either a Group Child Care Home License, for seven to 15 children, or a Family Child Care Home License, for up to six children). To operate a commercial facility, you will need a Child Care Center License.

Obtain the appropriate license for your business. Apply for any of the three types of child care licenses (Child Care Center, Group Child Care Home, Family Child Care Home) through the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.

Set up your child care center. If you're working out of your home, concentrate on making your house child-friendly. Set up areas for play, naps, and studying and add a selection of toys and games. If you'd prefer to work outside of the home, look for a building you can buy or rent. Choose a location that is convenient for parents, so they can drop off their children on the way to work.

Market your business. Let friends and family know you are starting a daycare business and ask them to spread the word. Consider visiting local businesses and speaking to their employees about your day care business. Hang signs at supermarkets and coffee shops to help get the word out.


Emily Beach works in the commercial construction industry in Maryland. She received her LEED accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2008 and is in the process of working towards an Architectural Hardware Consultant certification from the Door and Hardware Institute. She received a bachelor's degree in economics and management from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.

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