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How to get a home daycare license

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Brian Swartz

Brian Swartz

CEO and Co-Founder, NeighborSchools

Are you interested in getting a license to open your own home daycare? Or are you curious about what it would take? Read on for the ultimate guide to getting a license for Family Child Care in Massachusetts.


The basics

In Massachusetts, child care is regulated by the Massachusetts Dept. of Early Education & Care (the “EEC”). The EEC governs both center-based and home daycares. The EEC officially refers to home daycares as “Family Child Care.”

At first glance, the EEC’s requirements for a Family Child Care license are relatively straight forward:

  1. Attend two in-person training sessions

  2. Complete four online training requirements

  3. Pass a physical exam

  4. Proof of at least one-year full-time experience

  5. Up to date Pediatric CPR & First Aid

  6. Pass a pre-licensing home inspection by your Licensor

  7. Pass a background check (CORI, SORI, & fingerprints)

Taken individually, each of the above seems perfectly reasonable. But put together, combined with the EEC’s new website and online application platform, there’s a lot of moving parts for an aspiring Provider to keep track of.

Let’s take each of these pieces one by one.


The in-person training sessions

The first is the Potential Providers Meeting, put on by the EEC at its regional offices. This is a free two-hour meeting led by a licensor and discusses the basics of the licensing process and what the licensors look for when they conduct their home visits. Contact us to find the next Potential Provider Meeting in your region.

The second is called the “Orientation – Module 1” and it is led by EEC certified Trainers throughout the State. It costs $30 and you must register ahead of time. Unfortunately, the State does not currently have a calendar of these training sessions. Contact us to learn about upcoming sessions.


Complete four online training requirements

These online trainings are:

  1. Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome

    Formerly known as SIDs, this is an online resource and self-assessment. It is critically important that Providers understand the risk of SUIDS and safe sleep practices.

  2. Medication Administration – “The 5 Rights”

    This is a training hosted on an e-learning platform. At the end, you’ll receive a certificate to save and include in your application.

  3. Transportation Safety – “Look Before You Lock”

    This is another online resource and self-assessment.

  4. Childhood Nutrition Training

    The EEC suggests that Providers take a free online course with the Institute of Childhood Nutrition.


Getting a home daycare license might seem complicated, but with the right resources you'll be on track in no time.
Getting a home daycare license might seem complicated, but with the right resources, you’ll be on track in no time.


Pass a physical exam

You’ll need to schedule a physical exam with a physician. The EEC has a form for the Physician to complete.


Proof of experience

If you’re a parent or have professional experience working with children, you are qualified according to the State regulations. If you have worked informally as a nanny or part-time, your licensor may request a letter from your employers.


Pediatric CPR & First Aid

The EEC regulations require that every Provider renew their Pediatric CPR certificate every year, regardless of the expiration date on your certificate. Note that the First Aid certificate is valid for two years.


Pass a pre-licensing home inspection by your licensor

Once you’ve submitted your application to the EEC, your licensor will schedule a pre-licensing home inspection. During the home inspection, they’ll make sure your home is free of chipping paint, has two safe exits paths, and is conducive to hosting a great home daycare. (note: there are a number of considerations for your home inspection – contact us to learn more).


Pass a background check (CORI, SORI, & fingerprints)

As of October 2018, all Providers and all people who live in the Provider’s home over the age of 15 are required to submit all three forms of a background check. After you submit your application to the EEC you’ll receive instructions on how to schedule your checks.


The time is now to get your home daycare license

There you have it – a summary of the seven key things you’ll need to qualify for a home daycare license from the EEC. These requirements have been developed with the best interest of children in mind. Taken collectively, there’s a lot to keep track of, and there are important details about each of the above that we’ll go into in separate posts.

It’s also important to remember that getting your home daycare license is just the first major step towards opening a thriving daycare. Next, you’ll need to register your business, secure insurance, market your daycare to parents, enroll students, and start operating the daycare and collecting tuition payments. Phew, that seems like a lot, right? We hear you. That’s why we wrote the Ultimate Guide to Opening a Home Daycare — to make it easier for Providers like you to navigate the process and open the daycare of your dreams, faster.

Overall, we find that many great Providers are put off by the licensing process and concerns about the business aspects of opening a home daycare. But we’re here to help! contact us to learn how you can partner with NeighborSchools and get help in licensing, setting up, and marketing your program.

Just want to learn more? Contact us and we’d be happy to assist you.


About NeighborSchools

NeighborSchools connects families to 100+ quality licensed home daycares across Massachusetts. Our mission is to reunite neighborhoods with home daycares to help children grow, parents work, and providers thrive. 

Looking to take your child care career to the next level? Learn how you can start your own home daycare.


Brian Swartz

Brian Swartz

CEO and Co-Founder, NeighborSchools

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