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.

SB 243

The Governor of California signed SB 234, the Keeping Kids Close to Home Act, on September 5th, 2019. It will become law on January 1, 2020.

To meet the needs of today’s families, SB 234 equalizes and updates state law to encourage and support family child care homes.  Please click here (link is external) to view the SB 234 Frequently Asked Questions (available in five languages).

This general FAQ was created by the Child Care Law Center and Public Counsel to provide you general information about the new law (SB 234).

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 16-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.

Please note: The City of Irvine does not require any permits nor a business license to own or operate a large or small family child care home within the City of Irvine.
If you have additional questions regarding the process of opening a family child care home please contact the City of Irvine Child Care Coordination Office at 949-724-6632.
In addition, the City offers a variety of programs and services to support family child care providers. Please see below:

Online Referral List
To be included in the online referral list of Irvine family-based child care programs for families looking for care, please contact the Child Care Coordination Office at 949-724-6632.  There is no fee to be included on this list.

FREE Membership
We invite you to tour the Child Resource Center (CRC) and sign up for your free Irvine family child care provider membership. The CRC is a unique membership-based lending library offering thousands of items including over 600 educational toys and games to support every area of a child’s development, from birth through school age. In addition to our popular educational toys, our lending library also features literacy and storytelling kits, hundreds of children’s books, music CDs, child development and parenting books, and books for family childcare business operation (marketing, creation of policies and procedures, record keeping, etc.). Every item in our library is cataloged and can be viewed  online at www.cityofirvine.org/CRC. The CRC is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and located in Heritage Park at 14341 Yale Avenue, Irvine, 92604. 

Networking Workshops
Free or low cost workshops throughout the year to support you and your work with children.

Additional Referrals

  • The Orange County Child Care Association is a separate organization, not affiliated with the City of Irvine, that offers support specifically to licensed family providers in Orange County. They have their own referral list that you can be added to as well. https://www.orangecountychildcareassociation.org/
  • Children’s Home Society also has a resource and referral database for families seeking child care. You can contact their organization at 714-456-9800 for more information.