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Opening a Licensed Family Child Care Home

Here are some answers to questions you may have about opening a licensed child care home. The following are guidelines. Please consult the Rules Regulating Family Child Care Homes (publication 7.707) on the Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Early Care and Learning website for full details. (See Colorado Child Care Rules and Regulations under Resources for New Child Care Providers.)

Do I need to be licensed to provide child care in Colorado?

If you are going to take care of more than one other families' children, you need to be licensed. If you only take care of one other families' children at a time, you do not need to be licensed. For example, if you are going to take care of the next door neighbor's children in the mornings and the across the street neighbor's children in the afternoon (no overlap) you would not need a license. Having children of your own does not affect this. However, if you are going to take care of the next door and across the street neighbor's children at the same time (children from more than one family) you would need a license.

How many children may I take care of?

Although there are different types of licenses, most providers start with a license which allows for the care of six children full time, plus two school-age children part time. Your own children are included in these numbers. At the orientation we offer, the differences between the types of licenses and training requirements are explained.

How much space must I have in my home for each child?

You must have 35 square feet of indoor play space and 75 square feet of outdoor space per child.

Must I have a fenced yard?

Yes. Fences (or other natural barrier, such as a thick hedge) must be at least 42 inches high.

If I live in an apartment, can I become a licensed child care provider?

Yes, as long as you have the required square footage and meet the requirements for the outdoor play space and other safety standards.

Will someone inspect my home before I become licensed?

Eight to ten weeks after you have submitted all the necessary application materials, a licensing specialist will schedule a visit to your home to assure that minimum standards of health and safety have been met. Preparing your home for the initial visit is discussed at the orientation we offer and in the required pre-licensing classes.

Once I become licensed, is there any other training I must take?

Licensed child care providers are required to complete 15 hours of ongoing training each year in a variety of subjects which include the care and education of young children, nutrition, health and safety, child guidance, etc. Classes and training are available through a variety of agencies.

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