Requirements for In-Home Daycare in Tennessee

by Rebecca Herron
Daycare regulations in Tennessee are established by the Department of Human Services.

Daycare regulations in Tennessee are established by the Department of Human Services.

An in-home daycare is a popular choice for a home-based business, especially among mothers with young children. As with any business, it is important for anyone interested in operating an in-home daycare to know the state laws and regulations. In Tennessee, the regulations governing daycares are established by the Department of Human Services.


Any individual providing care for more than four children unrelated to herself must obtain a license to operate a child-care home. To obtain a license, the person must contact the Department of Human Services and request information on opening a child-care home and the appropriate application forms. To finish the application process, the applicant must complete a criminal background check as well as pre-service training provided by the department. A home inspection will be conducted by the department before a license is issued. To maintain the license, the individual must remain in compliance with the state's standards and regulations for a family child-care home and pass inspection by the department.


The operator of an in-home daycare must be at least 18 years of age at the time of applying for a license. To be eligible for a license, the operator must also be able to read and write English, have a high school diploma or its equivalent, pass a criminal background check and complete pre-service training conducted by the department. To maintain the license, the operator must complete eight hours of in-service training annually, which may be training in recognizing child abuse and neglect, CPR and first aid, child development, early childhood education and related fields of study. The operator must not be employed in another occupation during the hours of operation for the daycare.

Home Requirements

The home to be used as a family daycare home must be inspected and approved each year by a licensing counselor for fire safety and environmental health. The house must have a minimum of 30 square feet of usable play space per child, two exits directly to the outside, be kept clean and free of hazards, and clearly display the license issued by the Department of Human Services for operating a family daycare home. All equipment used for and by the children in the care of the operator must be in good working condition and kept clean for each use.

About the Author

Rebecca Herron has received a background in education from Bluefield State College which, in addition to four years of study, involved volunteer service in public schools and student teaching split between the elementary and middle school levels. She has written online for various websites.

Photo Credits

  • Tennessee state contour against blurred USA flag image by Stasys Eidiejus from