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 a full list on how to get a home daycare license in Massachusetts.
The Basics: How to Get a Home Daycare License in Massachusetts
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:
- Attend two Potential Provider Meetings online
- Complete 13 on-demand online training course
- Pass a physical exam
- Proof of at least one-year full-time experience
- Sign up for Professional Qualifications Registry
- Pass a pre-licensing home inspection by your Licensor
- 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.
1. Attend two Potential Provider Meetings online
The Potential Provider Meeting 1 is a two-hour class you can watch on-demand on StrongStart, the EEC’s online learning platform. You’ll need to create an account on StrongStart, which you will use again for the other “essentials” courses.
Meeting 2 (PPM2) is a live Zoom meeting, hosted by the regional offices. Contact us or call your local regional office to get the schedule and register to attend. They will send you a confirmation email. On that call, they should also register you in the LEAD platform, which you’ll later use to submit your application.
2. Complete 13 on-demand online training courses
This interactive online learning series covers many different topics, including:
Safe Sleeping Practices
It is critically important that Providers understand the risk of SUIDS and safe sleep practices.
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.
Transportation Safety – “Look Before You Lock”
This is another online resource and self-assessment.
The EEC suggests that Providers take a free online course with the Institute of Childhood Nutrition.
First Aid and CPR
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.
Here are the rest of the trainings you will also have to complete:
- Neglect and Abuse
- Emergency Response
- Food Related Risk and Response
- Hazardous Materials
- Infectious Disease and Immunizations
- Physical Premises Safety
- Shaken Baby Syndrome
- Child Growth and Development
3. 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.
4. Proof of at least one-year full-time 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.
5. Sign up for Professional Qualifications Registry
The Professional Qualifications Registry or PQR is used to keep track of continuing education credits. As a Provider, you are required to complete 10 hours of training per year. The PQR is where the EEC tracks your hours.
6. 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).
7. 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 in Massachusetts
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 5-Part 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.
Originally published November 2018, updated November 2020