Minnesota has licensing guidelines and regulations for daycare providers. By adhering to them, you reassure those who leave their children in your care that you meet minimum qualifications.
Consider whether you want to operate as family childcare home or as a daycare center. Note that you do not have to have a childcare license to care for children from one family or for your own family members.
Licensing regulations differ for these types of daycare businesses. Refer to Minnesota Rules, parts 902.0300 to 9502.0445 (or Rule 2) for more information. If you want to license a family childcare home, you will need to apply for your license through the county you live in.
You must also meet health and child care education/training requirements as stated in Minnesota Administrative Rule 9502.0355. You must be in good health, and have certain amounts of childcare provider training and education to be a daycare provider. There are various ways to meet these requirements; contact state officials for more details.
Develop an appropriate and detailed business plan that includes information about the hours of your business, budget, staffing needs and expectations, and details about the childcare program itself. Include policies that your facility will enforce, such as behavior guidance and information for parents. The Minnesota Child Care Resource and Referral Network has published a thorough guide to help you get started.
Ensure that the building you plan to use for your childcare facility meets regulations of the Minnesota Department of Human Services. These include: around 70 to 100 square feet of gross floor space per child in your facility; at least one toilet and sink for every 15 people in the center over the age of two; meeting other general safety, sanitation, and fire code rules. You must provide documentation that your building meets these requirements when you submit your application.
Download and complete a childcare center application from the website of the Minnesota Department of Human Services. In addition to an application fee, you will need to pay an annual licensing fee that ranges from $224 to $1,500, depending on the number of children in your facility. If you are trying to open a family childcare home, submit your application to your county's licensing office.
Prepare in advance for your facility's onsite visit by licensing staff to make sure it meets all necessary regulations and standards rules. This can speed up the processing of your application.