Opening a Family Child Care Home

Are you interested in becoming a licensed family child care provider? If you enjoy working with children and are interested in starting a small business, the City of Irvine encourages you to consider the many benefits of becoming a licensed provider. Not only can this offer new challenges and increased income, it can also be fulfilling to serve the needs of children and families. 

Advantages to Becoming a Licensed Provider

  • Ability to serve more children
  • Increased income
  • Business tax deductions
  • Loans, child care associations, workshops, CPR/First Aid training, etc.
  • Career advancement

Who Needs a License?

State law requires that a license must be obtained if you provide care and supervision to children from more than one family who are not related to you. The State of California Community Care Licensing Division is the oversight agency for child care programs.

Types of Family Child Care Homes

  • Small Family Child Care Homes: can provide care for up to six children plus two school-aged children
  • Large Family Child Care Homes: can provide care for up to 12 children plus two school-aged children (with a qualified assistant)

Please note that State of California Community Care Licensing requires a large family child care applicant to either have been licensed one full year as a small family child care home, or have at least one year experience working in a licensed center-based program.

Steps Required by the State of California to Become a Licensed Provider

  1. Attend a mandatory Community Care Licensing (CCL) orientation during which a licensing analyst will discuss licensing regulations and address questions. Participants receive a certificate (valid for one year) after completing the orientation. View the current CCL orientation schedule here.
  2. Attend a 15-hour health and safety training (must include pediatric CPR and pediatric First Aid).
  3. Obtain tuberculosis clearance test.
  4. Child-proof your home and prepare for business.
  5. Obtain fire clearance from the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA). Learn more about OCFA licensing inspections and fees here. If you are considering opening a licensed care facility and would like a pre-inspection, please email 850@ocfa.org to make an appointment. Fees could apply.
  6. Submit a family child care application and the non-refundable processing fee to CCL. You will receive this application when you attend the mandatory CCL orientation.
  7. Once your application is approved, CCL will direct you to be fingerprinted via Livescan. These are to be completed by all individuals 18 or older residing in the home.
  8. Return the completed Livescan and child abuse index forms to CCL.
  9. Once all required forms and trainings are completed, a licensing analyst will contact the applicant to schedule a home visit.
  10. After clearances (criminal/fire) and home are approved, a facility license will be issued.

Steps Required by the City of Irvine to Open a Large Family Child Care Home

  1. Complete the Large Family Day Care (LFDC) Permit Application.
  2. Submit the following to the Community Development Department, Development Assistance Center, P.O. Box 19575, Irvine, CA 92623-9575:
    -Your completed City of Irvine LFDC permit application form
    -Two copies of an 8 1/2"x11" site plan showing the drop-off/pick-up area and outdoor play area, per the development standards listed on the information sheet
    -One copy of your Large Family Child Care license. 
  3. If you submit your completed application in person, it will be reviewed over the counter. If your completed application is submitted by mail and approved, you will receive your permit by mail in approximately five working days.

Please note: A City of Irvine business license is not required to own or operate a large or small family child care home within the City of Irvine. A small family child care home is allowed "by right" in residential districts; no permit is required from the City of Irvine to own or operate a small family child care home.