In Missouri, if you care for more than four children who are not your own, the state requires that you obtain a license. Missouri offers licensing for family home childcare (up to 10 children not related to the provider), group home childcare (up to 20 children at a location separate from the provider's home) or childcare centers (more than 20 children at a location separate from the provider's home).
Contact the Section for Child Care Regulation at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and schedule a meeting to discuss your plans. There are seven regional Sections for Child Care Regulation, so you'll be able to set up the meeting in your regional area. Offices are located in Independence, Macon, Columbia, Jefferson City, Springfield, St. Louis and Cape Girardeau. At this meeting, officials will discuss your plans, the rules, and the licensing and/or inspection process for the type of facility you wish to operate.
Complete an application on the forms provided by the Section for Child Care Regulation. There is no charge for the application or the license. A license is issued for up to two years.
Obtain a background screening for child abuse/neglect and criminal record for the childcare provider, other household members and other childcare personnel who will work in the facility. The provider and daycare assistants must also obtain a medical examination as required by state childcare rules.
Send the completed application to the Section for Child Care Regulation in your region. Three different types of inspections are required. The Section for Child Care Regulation makes an initial inspection of the home or facility to determine compliance with rules. The Department of Public Safety, Division of Fire Safety conducts a fire safety inspection. And, Bureau of Environmental Regulation and Licensure personnel must conduct a sanitation inspection.
Receive and save the daycare home or facility license, if approved. The license will include the effective dates, the number of children the provider may care for and any limitations to the license. State officials will inspect your facility at least twice a year. You should also expect annual fire safety and sanitation inspections.
Make yourself thoroughly familiar with the requirements for licensure so that your application will be complete.
Take advantage of free state-offered training and health education.