California Child Care Education

If you are interested in caring for children and turning your home into a family child care center then you are required to obtain a license to operate. The California Community Care Licensing Department (CCLD) is the governing body that oversees the license process for both center-based and home-based Family Child Care (FCC).

A license is required to operate in your home unless you meet the following criteria:

  • Only caring for up to three children from one other family besides your own
  • Caring for up to 12 children for no payment; or
  • Related to all the children that are under your care

Family Child Care Licenses 

In the state of California, there are two types of Child Care licenses. The two licenses are small and large; they differ in how many children you can care for in your home. If you have a small license that you are able to care for four infants (which is defined as children under the age of 24 months old); up to six children if no more than three are infants, or eight children if no more than two of them are infants and a minimum of two children are at least six years of age.

For a large license, you can have up to twelve children in your care if no more than four are infants; to care for 14 children, only three of them can be infants, and at least two of them are required to be six-years-old.

Here is a chart that explains the ratios for California’s Small and Large Family Child Care.

Age Range Ratio For California Small Family Child Care
Total Number of Children Allowed: 2-6; Plus 2 School-Age Children (SAC)
Maximum Number of Children to One Provider: 8
Provider’s Own Children Counted: Yes; If under age 10
Age Range Ratio For California Large Family Child Care
Total Number of Children Allowed: 7-12; Plus 2 SAC
Ratio of Children to One Provider: 6:1; With no more than 4 infants
Provider’s Own Children Counted: Yes; If under age 10

Child Care Qualifications

Family Childcare Operators: For you to provide Child Care in a home setting, you must live in the home where you want to care for children. You also may have to make a few modifications to your home, especially if you have a hot tub or a pool.

In addition to this, you and any adult that is living or working in your home must be fingerprinted for a criminal record check, a Child Abuse index chat, and is required to take a TB test. There will also be 15 hours of preventive safety and health training.

Large Family Operator: For a large family Child Care license for a home setting the provider must have at least one year as a small family Child Care home operator and must provide verification, or must have at least one year experience as a Director or Administrator, or a Teacher at a licensed Child Care center.

Additional Child Care Resources

Department of Social Services (url)