If you have a passion for children and a desire to provide a much needed service to your community, then nothing could be more fulfilling than starting a child care business.  Be your own boss and experience financial security and variety in the workday.

Start a Child Care Business

Determine if you need a license.

Check out the specific licensing requirements for the type of child care that you would like to provide.

Take this quiz to determine your provider type. 

License-Exempt Child Care Providers

Some types of child care are not required to be licensed.

If any of the following exemptions apply to you, the type of care you provide may not be required to be licensed but you may be required to record as a program.

  • I am providing care in the home of the child and all children present, not including my own children, reside in the home.
  • I am related to all the children I care for.
  • All the children I care for – not including my own children – are from the same family.
  • The number of days that I care for children is not more than 70 days in a year.
  • I am caring for three or fewer children, not including my own children, at any one time.
  • I am operating a program that is for school-age children, is focused on a single enrichment activity and operates for no more than eight hours a week.
  • I am operating a program that is mostly a group athletic or social activity and is sponsored by an organized club or hobby group.
  • I am operating a parent cooperative child care program. Parents of the children in care must provide care on a rotating basis and the program cannot operate for more than four hours per day.
  • The program is operated by a school district, political subdivision of the state or a governmental agency.
  • I am operating a program in a facility that provides care to children while the parents remain on the premises and are engaged in an activity offered by the facility or in other non-work activity.
  • I am operating a preschool recorded program or a school-age recorded program.

Oregon requires certain programs serving children to be recorded to ensure adults having contact with children complete criminal background checks and to keep parents informed about the types of child care program they are using. 

Types of Recorded Programs

There are two types of recorded programs.  Preschool Recorded Programs serve children 36 months to 5 years of age, are primarily educational, and no child is in the facility more than four hours per day.  School-age Recorded Programs serve child from first grade to 13 years of age, provide youth development activities that are extracurricular in nature, and do not take the place of parental care.

Ask yourself the following questions to determine whether your program needs to be recorded.  If your program is required to be recorded, you must complete criminal background checks on all staff and volunteers 18 years of age and older and submit an application for a recorded program with the Office of Child Care.

Preschool Recorded Program

If you answer “yes” to all 3 questions, your program must be recorded with the Office of Child Care.

  1. Is my program for children between the ages of 36 months and not yet eligible to be enrolled in first grade at public school?
  2. Is my program designed to be primarily educational?
  3. Is my program designed so that no child is in the facility for more than four hours per day?
School-Age Recorded Program

If you answer “yes” to all 4 questions, your program must be recorded with the Office of Child Care.

  1. Is my program for children eligible for first grade and up to age 13 years?
  2. Does my program provide youth development activities that help a child increase skills and gain proficiency?
  3. Is my program designed so that it only takes place when regular school is not in session?
  4. Is my program designed so that children can come and go as they please?*

If your program is required to be recorded, you must complete criminal background checks on all staff and volunteers 18 years of age and older and submit an application for a recorded program with the Office of Child Care.

How to Get Recorded

  1. Complete a background check on all staff and volunteers 18 years and older who will have contact with children in the program.
  2. Complete the preschool application.
  3. Mail the application, verification of background checks, and $20 application fee to Office of Child Care.
  4. Inform parents about your recorded status.
  5. Post the program notice in a place where it can be seen.
  6. Find children to enroll in your program: Join our Provider Network.

A Regulated Subsidy Provider is a non-relative who cares for children whose families are eligible for child care assistance through the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), but who is not required to be licensed.  A Regulated Subsidy Provider (sometimes referred to as a license exempt child care provider) is required to be listed with ODHS and to follow new federal regulations for training and allow a visit by the Office of Child Care. 

What is Employment Related Day Care?

Through ODHS, the Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) program helps working families pay for child care, including registration fees.  ERDC is a subsidy program.  This means families may pay part of the child care cost, called a copay.  ERDC ​​works with partners to help families find quality child care​.

Why Should You Care?

Some families receive assistance through ODHS to pay for child care.  If you have such a family who's children you care for and you are not yet listed with ODHS, the listing form should come directly from the family's caseworker to insure you are linked to that family.

How Do I Become Listed with ODHS?

If you want to receive child care subsidies and you have not yet been connected to a family, you can download a Pre-listing form.  More info on the program can also be found on the Oregon Child Care Provider Information page.

Before listing with ODHS you must complete the following trainings:

Go to the Early Learning Division Office of Child Care website to access forms and resources.

Licensed Child Care Providers

Some types of child care require to be licensed.

Child care means the care and supervision of a child, on a regular basis, unaccompanied by their parent or guardian, in a place other than the child’s own home, with or without compensation.  If a child care program is being operated by a provider that doesn’t match any of the descriptions of license exempt child care, it will need to be licensed with the Early Learning Division Office of Child Care.

Do I Need To Be Licensed?

Answer these questions to learn whether your program needs to be licensed:

  1. Are you caring for three or fewer children, not including your own children?
  2. Are you related to all of the children you are caring for?
  3. Are you providing care in the home of the children, not including your own?
  4. Are you only caring for the children on an occasional basis (70 or fewer days in a year)?

If you answered “Yes” to any of the questions above, you may be considered exempt from licensing requirements.

If you answered “No” to all of the questions above and you are providing child care, you may be subject to licensing requirements.

Provides care to more than 3 children, more than occasionally, in a location other than the child's own home.  They may care for up to 10 children including their own (a maximum of 6 children preschool age or younger, of which only 2 may be under age two).

How to Get Licensed

This is a summary of how to become licensed.  See Office of Child Care for complete details.

  1. Complete the following trainings:
  2. Complete a Central Background Registry application for anyone 18 years or older in your household.
  3. Complete the Registered Family Child Care application (4 to 6 weeks to process).
  4. Mail completed application, copies of certificates and cards from required classes and $30 application fee to Early Learning Division.
  5. Prepare your home for a Health and Safety Review from the OCC Licensing Specialist (visit takes about 1 hour).
  6. Develop a business plan.
  7. Develop contracts and policies.
  8. Develop a record keeping system.
  9. Market your business.
  10. Find children to enroll in your program: Join our Provider Network.

Provides care for no more than 16 children in their own home.  Number and ages of children depends on number of staff.

How to Get Licensed

  1. Read the Certified Child Care Center Licensing Regulations.
  2. Contact the local OCC Licensing Specialist for a consultation visit.
  3. Visit other Certified Child Care Centers.
  4. Talk with Child Care Partners (contact us) about availability of training to meet Center staff requirements.
  5. Consider taking a business class and/or meet with the Small Business Development Center at CGCC.
  6. Talk to your local community about Planning and Zoning requirements.
  7. Call the licensing specialist to complete a pre-certification visit.
  8. Complete application and floor plan; and send to the Office of Child Care.
  9. You will than receive a call from the Licensing Specialist, requesting that you call the local Health. Department to schedule a Sanitation Inspection and the State Fire Marshal for a Fire Safety Inspection.
  10. When the Sanitation inspection is completed, call the licensing specialist for an initial licensing inspection.
  11. Find children to enroll in your program: Join our Provider Network.

Provides care in a facility other than their own home.  The number and ages of children is dependent on the number of staff working in the center and the square footage of the rooms children are in.

How to Get Licensed

  1. Read the Certified Child Care Center Licensing Regulations.
  2. Contact the local OCC Licensing Specialist for a consultation visit.
  3. Visit other Certified Child Care Centers.
  4. Talk with Child Care Partners (contact us) about availability of training to meet Center staff requirements.
  5. Consider taking a business class and/or meet with the Small Business Development Center at CGCC.
  6. Talk to your local community about Planning and Zoning requirements.
  7. Call the licensing specialist to complete a pre-certification visit.
  8. Complete application and floor plan; and send to the Office of Child Care.
  9. You will than receive a call from the Licensing Specialist, requesting that you call the local Health. Department to schedule a Sanitation Inspection and the State Fire Marshal for a Fire Safety Inspection.
  10. When the Sanitation inspection is completed, call the licensing specialist for an initial licensing inspection.
  11. Find children to enroll in your program: Join our Provider Network.

Go to the Early Learning Division Office of Child Care website to access forms and resources.

Join the Early Learning Workforce

Follow these steps to get started:

Enroll in the Office of Child Care's Central Background Registry.

After you are enrolled, you will get an access code to make an appointment to complete fingerprinting.

The following trainings can be found online and must be completed before entering the early learning workforce:

  • Recognizing & Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect (RRCAN)
  • Introduction to Child Care Health and Safety (ICCHS)
  • Introduction to Registered Family Child Care Part 1 (IRFCC)
  • Introduction to Registered Family Child Care Part 2 (IRFCC) - Available through CCP
  • Prevention is Better Than Treatment (PBTT)
  • Safe Sleep for Oregon's Infants (SS) - if working with children under the age of 24 months

*** Not all trainings are required of every position and type of care.

CGCC regularly offers First Aid & CPR through its community education program. 

Sign up for a training through CourseStorm.

*** Under normal circumstances, online CPR is not accepted for early childhood system use.  In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Early Learning Division has authorized a temporary exception to this rule, effective immediately and expiring after the Governor lifts the emergency declaration.  As of June 30th, 2022 the online CPR will no longer be accepted.

Join our Provider Network

Child Care Partners (CCP) provides technical assistance (TA) to child care centers and family child care homes as they work to improve program practices and standards in an effort to increase or maintain higher star-ratings.

Benefits of joining our provider network:

  • Assistance navigating Oregon’s early learning systems, including reimbursement and subsidy programs and licensing.
  • Support for sustainable business practices including handbooks, policies, and record keeping.
  • Onsite and phone support from local Quality Improvement Specialists.
  • Free and low cost professional development opportunities in multiple languages.
  • Professional development planning, Oregon Registry, and scholarship support.
  • Connection to coordinated Focused Child Care Networks.
  • Guidance and best practices through Oregon’s Quality Rating and Improvement System.
  • Special needs support for early educators and parents.

It's simple!  Just complete the webform: Join our Provider Network

As a Child Care Provider in Oregon, the health and safety of children in your care is your top priority. 

Check out the following resources: 

Frequently Asked Questions

The Office of Child Care (OCC) is the state agency that regulates child care in Oregon.  OCC regulates three different types of child care facilities: Registered Family Child Care, Certified Family Child Care, and Certified Child Care Centers.  To read the rules and regulations concerning all three types of care, you can visit the Office of Child Care website or call OCC at 1 (800) 556-6616 for detailed information.

You are not required to be licensed if:

  • You only care for children on an occasional basis.
  • You care for 3 or fewer children or children from only one family at a time, not including your own children.
  • You are a primarily educational program for children three years old and older, but not attending kindergarten, for four or fewer hours a day.
  • You provide care in the child’s own home.
  • You are related to the child by blood, marriage, or adoption.

Learn more about the types of child care in Oregon including child care provider licensing requirements.

Yes, in Oregon, child care is considered a small business and must report their income and file taxes.  Child Care Partners offers business classes for child care providers, which offer information on record keeping.  Typically in January, Child Care Partners offers a tax workshop specifically for child care providers.  The most important thing to remember is to save all of your receipts.

Join our Provider Network and let us know that you have openings in your program.  Child Care Partners refers parents looking for child care to providers enrolled in our program who are offering the type of care the parent is looking for. 

Child Care Partners is only one way to market your program.  It is also important to talk with friends, neighbors, parents of children currently in your program, your church, etc.  The best marketing for a child care program will always be the referral of a parent using your program.  Word of mouth is your best source of referrals.

Once you have completed and sent your application in to the Office of Child Care, it generally takes 4-6 weeks for it to be processed.

No, you cannot take more than the number of children allowed even if you do have a helper. Your child care license is specific to your home and to you as the provider.

Yes, once your application is processed, the Child Care Licensing Specialist for your area will call and make an appointment to come to your home to complete a Health and Safety Review.  This visit takes about one hour.

Questions?

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