How to Open a Licensed Child Care Facility
Are You Interested in Providing Licensed Child Care?
- Are you 18 and have a high school degree or its equivalent?
- Do you want to impact children for the rest of their lives, and teach them positive lessons in sharing and playing with others?
- Do you want to run your own small business?
- Do you wish to stay home and offer in-home care OR do you have a desire to open a daycare outside of your residence? Both are doable! KDHE licenses multiple types of child care programs unique to your needs and the community to be served.
Step 1: What Type of Care Will You Provide?
Licensing is critical to ensure children are cared for in a safe and healthy environment. Regulated care includes home care, center or school age programs. Understanding what type of care you want to offer is your first step in this journey! Learn about the different types of child care licenses and when you need one.
Schedule Your Orientation
Orientation is your first opportunity to learn what is required for the type of care you're pursuing. Orientation is conducted by the local licensing surveyor. The goal of orientation is to explain the child care licensing process and requirements and offer support and encouragement. During orientation, the applicant will learn about the practices for the type of facility, including duties and responsibilities for the care and supervision of children. Orientation will set you and your business, up for success.
Topics covered will include:
- Licensing regulations
- Emergency procedures
- Behavior management and discipline practices
- Schedule of daily activities
- Importance of outdoor play
- Health and safety practices, i.e. safe sleep, storage of hazardous materials, etc.
- Confidentiality, i.e. child records
- Required Health and Safety training topics
- Required Pediatric CPR & First Aid
Schedule Your Required Orientation
Contact your local licensing surveyor (PDF) to schedule your orientation. DO NOT apply for a license until you have attended a required orientation.
Verify Building Codes for Licensing
If applicable, contact your Home Owner's Association (HOA) or city or county building codes office to verify that you can open a licensed facility in your desired location.
Submit Your Application
After attending orientation, an applicant can begin work on the application. Submitting a daycare application is alerting KDHE you are ready to start caring for children.
KDHE has created application instructions for each program type to guide you through this process. Find the application forms and instructions. A complete application must be submitted.
Create an account and submit an application online OR submit a paper application. Until further notice, application and background check fees are being covered under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021.
Complete a Background Check
After receiving a complete application, KDHE will begin processing all persons listed on the background check form. Depending on the age of the individual and their role in the facility one of the following types of checks are conducted: a comprehensive finger print background check or a name-based check.
Kansas law (KSA 65-516) requires a background check for each individual residing, working or regularly volunteering in a licensed child care facility. Background check requirements are protections intended to reduce the risk of abuse or neglect for children in regulated out-of-home child care settings. Parents need to be confident that individuals caring for their children do not have prior records of behavior that could endanger children.
KDHE will notify an applicant when a comprehensive fingerprint background check is required. It is important for the applicant to ensure all required forms and cards are returned to KDHE in a timely manner. Learn more about the background check process.
What Happens Next?
Home programs in a residential setting where all background checks have been processed may receive a temporary permit from KDHE, This means you may start care. The licensing surveyor will call and schedule the first onsite visit for the initial survey. The initial survey is an opportunity for the surveyor to verify all regulations are followed, provide support and guidance.
In a commercial setting (non-residential), the initial survey will be conducted prior to children in care. A temporary permit may be issued after the survey process.
Additional unannounced onsite visits called compliance checks may be needed to verify any violations noted at the first survey are corrected. A permanent license is issued when the facility is in full compliance.