Starting a Child Care Business

Helping new businesses and individuals navigate the necessary requirements for opening a child care program

Are you interested in becoming a child care provider or opening your own child care program?

First you need to determine what type of program you want to open.

  •   Informal Child Care - Provide care for one or two children, besides your own children or relatives, in your own home.   There is no registration process to provide informal child care.
  •   Legally Exempt Child Care - Provide care for one or two children, besides your own children or relatives, and receive payment from the Department of Social Services(DSS).   The parent must have an open case with DSS and the provider must be enrolled to be a legally exempt child care provider.
  •   Family Child Care - Provide care for up to six children under the age of 5, plus 2 additional school age children, at a time in your own residence.  Provider's own children under the age of 5 are counted in their capacity.  Family Child Care is Registered with New York State.
  •   Group Family Child Care - Provide care for up to twelve children under the age of 5, plus 4 additional school age children, at a time in your own residence.  A provider must use an assistant and the assistant must be approved when there is more that six children present. Providers own children under the age of 5 are counted in their capacity.  Group Family Child Care is Licensed with New York State.
  •   Child Care Center - Provide care for over 6 children in a non-residential setting.  Groups of children are separated by age and maximum group sizes and ratios must be maintained.  The program Director and teachers must meet educational and experience requriements.  Child Care Centers are Licensed with New York State.
  •   School Age Child Care Program - Provide care for children from kindergarten through age twelve in a non-residential setting. Care may also be provided during school vacations and holidays.  The program Director and teachers must meet educational and experience requirements.  School Age Child Care Programs are Registered with New York State.

Starting a child care center

Starting a child care center can be an overwhelming and difficult process.   Child care centers are greatly needed in our community, especially QUALITY child care centers!

For more information on the regulations for starting a child care center in New York State, visit the Office of Children and Family Services website. 

Here is a great resource guide for starting a business and planning a quality child care center.

Call the CCR&R staff for more information.

Getting Started

In order to obtain an application to apply for a child care program license or registration you will first need to take Child Day Care Orientation through the Office of Children and Family Services website.  This orientation will walk you through the information you need to know to determine if you are interested and able to start a child care program in New York State.  It outlines the necessary requirements for opening a child care program, highlighting the child care regulations, space requirements, information about proper ratios and staffing and resources for support.  This orientation will also introduce you to the important rules and regulations you need to know in order to run your business, including some information about how to best care for children in your program.

To access this orientation, click here or visit the OCFS website at www.ocfs.state.ny.us.

Program Details

Resources - Starting a family child care business

Requirements for Registration

Steps to Becoming a Registered Family Child Care Provider

What is OCFS?

Child Care is a Profession!

Advantages and Disadvantages of Being a Registered Child Care Provider

Costs Associated with Becoming a Registered/Licensed Family Child Care Provider

What can Family Enrichment Network's Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) do for you?

For assistance in determining child care need in Broome, Chenango, or Tioga Counties, call our Referral Specialist at (607) 723-8313 ext. 829.  She can help you determine what areas have a higher demand for child care. 

For information on how to look for a child care location, call the child care specialist in your county. 

For more information on starting a child care business, visit www.childcareaware.org

REMEMBER!:    Before you care for any more than 2 children in addition to your own, you must have received your registration certificate or you are operating illegally.  There is a fine of up to $500.00 per day for illegal childcare!

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Program FAQ

There is no such thing as a "certified" child care provider. The types of child care in New York State are registered family child care, licensed group family child care, licensed child care center, registered school age child care, or enrolled legally exempt child care.

You can provide care in your home for up to 2 non-related children fulltime. If you wish to provide care for more than 2 children, you must first become a registered or licensed family child care provider. As a family child care provider, you can care for up to 6 children under the age of 5 plus 2 additional school age children.  As a group family child care provider, you can care for up to 12 children under the age of 6, plus up to 4 additional school age children, with an approved assistant teacher.  You're own children under the age of 5 count in your numbers of children.  Please call a Child Care Specialist or your OCFS licensor to review the regulations.

Some insurance companies do not cover family child care providers and may drop your homeowner's insurance if you tell them you are providing child care. They may also drop you if you do not tell them you are providing child care and they find out later. For guidance on this topic, please call a Child Care Specialist at Family Enrichment Network.