Start a Business - Child Care Center

Many families choose Child Care Centers because of the more structured, classroom-like environment. Families may like that their children are cared for in groups with other children their same age. They may also appreciate the greater number of adults present in the building. Families often like Child Care Centers because of the larger groups of children present and the variety of equipment, supplies and activities. Families also report feeling that licensed child care centers are safe because they often have the most regulations and inspections.

Child care centers for children in groups and are generally operated out of non-residential, commercial buildings. Centers are larger and enroll more children than Family Child Care. They are usually divided into groups or classrooms of similarly aged children.  There is typically a dedicated director and numerous staff members.

Child care centers may be privately operated for profit by a chain or individual, or operated by non-profit agencies, including churches, public schools or government agencies.

Is There a Need in My Area?

Before embarking on your new journey, it is important to first determine if there is a need for your Family Child Care Home services.  And if so, what hours of operation would best suit your customers?  If you do not already have parents ready to enroll their children in your Family Child Care Home, explore these resources to get an idea of the child care demand in your local area or neighborhood. 

Stanislaus County Child Care Portfolio

The Stanislaus County Child Care Resource & Referral program contributes child care referral data to the California Child Care Portfolio which seeks to understand and to assist policy makers and communities to best understand child care supply and demand at the local, regional, and statewide level.  The Child Care Portfolio is updated every two years by the California Child Care Resource & Referral Network.  To view the latest Stanislaus County Child Care Portfolio, click here. - Early Care and Education Summary

In partnership with the California Child Care Resource & Referral Network, this site provide data tables for the Child Care Portfolio.  It's a different way of looking at the data.  Click here to view the data tables for Stanislaus County.  Don't forget to filter to Stanislaus County.  

Stanislaus County Child Care Needs Assessment

The Stanislaus County Local Child Development Planning Council is charged with conducting a child care needs assessment no less than once every five years.  To view the latest Stanislaus County Child Care Needs Assessment, click here.  

Child Care Center Licensing

Child Care Centers in California are licensed by the State of California's Community Care Licensing Division.  Explore the links below to get started.  To learn obtain extensive information about Family Child Care licensing, go to

Is a Child Care Center the Right Business for Me?

Opening a child care center is an important decision. Learn the key information to consider before submitting an application to Community Care Licensing.

This video provides helpful answers to the following questions:

  1. What are some of the business responsibilities of a child care center licensee?
  2. What are some of the business responsibilities associated with operating a child care center?
  3. What are some of the financial obligations I should expect?
  4. What other important considerations come with operating a child care facility?

Click on the link below to learn more about the minimum qualifications of child care center staff.  

Background Check Requirements

Operators of licensed child care facilities, as well as certain personnel, must submit to a background check and criminal clearance before working at a child care site. Learn the steps for completing this requirement.


Child Care Licensing Fees

Operators of family child care homes and child care centers are required to pay a one-time orientation fee, annual fees, relocation fees and capacity increase fees. Find out how to remain up to date with this licensing requirement.

This video provides helpful answers to the following questions:

  1. What must I know about my licensing fees?
  2. What happens if I’m late paying a fee?
  3. What If I want to change the location of my facility?
  4. Can I change my capacity – for example to expand from a small to a large family child care facility?

Education Requirements

Most early education programs require staff to hold a credential from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.  This credential, called the Child Development Permit, will qualify individuals to work in a number of positions with infant, toddler, and preschooler age children.  Click below to learn more about the permit and how to obtain one.

Continuing Education and Professional Development


Once your child care center is open for business, remember that you and your staff must continue your education and/or participate in professional development opportunities in order to continue to remain qualified for your positions.  

The Stanislaus County Child Care Resource & Referral program, along with other community agencies, provides a variety or low and no cost training and professional development events in the county.