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5 Steps To Getting Your North Carolina Family Child Care License

Congrats on leaping into your child care career! As child care director of a family child care in North Carolina you will surely make a big impact on your community. Getting your license is key to keeping your quality high and the program functioning at top level. We know the process of getting your license can be confusing. This is why we've created this simplified guide. If you require additional assistance, please consult our resource library To gain access to all of the materials and people required to launch a successful program join Wonderschool.

Minimum Requirements

  • The provider applying for a family child care license shall be over the age of 21
  • The applicant shall have a high diploma or GED
  • Completed a health questionnaire
  • Trained and have a valid certification for CPR and First Aid
  • Completed ITS-SIDS Training, if planning to care for children 12 months and younger.
  • The provider must successfully pass a criminal background check
  • Household members over the age of 18 must all pass their background check
  • Outdoor - The facility shall provide a minimum outdoor area of 75 square feet for each child in care; additional requirements for fencing and safety for where bodies of water are exposed
  • The facility shall be properly zoned for the use of this for a child care facility based in a residence
  • Negative tuberculosis test, and medical report from your healthcare provider.

Capacity Requirements

  • Family child care home - A child care arrangement located in a residence where, at any one time, more than two children, but less than nine children, receive child care
  • Child care center - A child care arrangement where, at any one time, there are three or more preschool-age children or nine or more school-age children receiving child care.  This also includes a center located in a residence, where the program is in a residence and the licensed capacity is six through twelve children, or up to fifteen school-age children.
Resources & Links Mail completed application and additional forms to Division of Child Development and Early Education, Regulatory Services Section/Team Support Unit, 2201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699

Step 1: Attend in-person pre-application class and check zoning

Step 2: Check zoning laws for your home

  • Contact your local zoning and planning office to find out if your residence meets child care zoning requirements for a family child care home. You may need to include a copy of zoning approval/privilege license, if applicable in your area. For more information on specific requirements, contact your local City or County Government office.
  • If you are renting or are a part of a homeowner’s association (HOA), you will need to have the owner’s, landlord’s, or HOA permission in writing before DCDEE can work with you to establish your child care facility. Include this documentation with your application.

Step 3: Submit your licensing application and other paperwork

  • Written consent from your landlord or HOA (if you have an HOA and/or rent your home)
  • A copy of zoning approval/privilege license information  (if applicable)
  • Copies of documentation that you meet any city, county or local ordinance requirements, (if applicable) (For information on specific requirements for your area, contact local ordinance office or child care consultant)
  • Mail completed application and additional forms to Division of Child Development and Early Education, Regulatory Services Section/Team Support Unit, 2201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699

Step 4: Consultation 

  • Once you have successfully completed the Family Child Care Home Pre-Licensing Workshop and submitted a completed application and required supporting documentation, a pre-licensing consultation will be scheduled. During this time, the child care consultant will review all applicable child care requirements, observe all indoor and outdoor areas of your home, and provide technical assistance to ensure you have all the information needed to prepare for licensure. If there are additional forms necessary for completing the application process, they will be provided during this visit.

Step 5: Success!

Pat yourself on the back, take a deep breath, and get some rest-- the real work is just beginning! You can contact North Carolina’s Division of Child Development and Early Education toll free at 1-800-859-0829 with any questions.  

Start, run, and grow your child care business with Wonderschool

Join Wonderschool for support throughout the licensing process, setting up your environment, making critical business decisions, and running the day-to-day of your program. You don’t have to do this alone!