How to Obtain a Child Care License in California

If you plan on taking care of children in California, you may need to obtain a child care license. The state requires child care providers to obtain a license if they will be taking care of unrelated children from more than one family. California offers two child care licenses--one for providers who will offer services in a commercial facility, and a family child care home license for those who will care for children in their own home.

Review the regulations and laws associated with child care licensing in California. The regulations are available through the California Department of Social Services at Print a hard copy of these regulations as you will need to bring them to a future orientation. You will also need to print a child care license application, which can be found at

Contact your local state licensing agency to sign up for a licensing orientation. Use the California Department of Social Services website to locate your local office ( Local orientation schedules can be found at Pay the nonrefundable orientation fee and bring your printed copies of the licensing application and regulations to the orientation.

Include a negative tuberculosis test with your license application. You will also need to submit negative tuberculosis test results for any adults living in your home for a family care license and for any employees if you are applying for a care center license.

Enroll in an acceptable 15-hour child health care and safety education course. Your local licensing office should have a list of recommended or accepted courses and enrollment information. Completion of this course is required before a license can be issued. This course teaches first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and preventative safety techniques.

Fill out the appropriate application for the license. The application includes the applicant's basic information, a facility or home sketch, a signed statement to report child abuse suspicions, a self-completed criminal history and an emergency disaster plan. The facility application also requires personnel information, a list of play equipment and toys, a sample menu and an admission agreement for parents. All applicants will also need to submit negative tuberculosis test(s), proof of orientation attendance and proof of enrollment or completion for the 15-hour child health care and safety education course. Enclose a check for the fee with your application.

After you receive your facility number, locate a Live Scan facility. This is required for a California background clearance. (A list of locations can be found at For a care center license, you will also need background clearances for all employees. For a home license, you will need to submit background clearances for all adults residing in the home.

Prepare for a a home or facility inspection. Before the state issues a child care license, the home inspection must be conducted first. The licensing agency will contact you to schedule an inspection. Ensure your home or facility meets all requirements set forth in the licensing regulations printed previously. For example, you must have a working phone, fire alarm and fire extinguisher. Also, all hazardous material must be locked up and out of a child's reach. Upon passing your inspection, your child care license will be issued.