Alert: Beginning July 1, 2018, the Department of Early Learning will become the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF). After June 30, 2018, this website will no longer be updated. For the latest information on early learning, visit the DCYF website at

Getting started


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The licensing process begins with an orientation, where you will receive information about:

  • Resources to help you through the licensing process.
  • Providing child care.
  • Training and other support.
At orientation, you will be encouraged to think about why you want to do child care. You'll want to assess your:

  • Business skills.
  • Abilities to work with children.
  • Determination, personality, experience and finances.
  • Child care space.
You will receive a license application, instructions about how to fill out the application and other related information. The licensor(s) who conduct the orientation will explain how to complete the application and what other information you must provide. 


Once you send in your application, DEL has 90 days to act on your application. If you are applying to offer child care in your home, a DEL licensor will contact you to schedule an inspection. If you are applying for a child care center license, a licensor will come to the center for an inspection. For both family home and center providers, DEL staff will talk with you about how you plan to offer child care, and work closely with you throughout the licensing process. 


During the licensing process, you should be in touch with your local Child Care Aware agency, which maintains a current list of licensed child care centers and homes so they can make child care referrals for parents and guardians who need child care. Agencies also offer a variety of services both for potential and already-licensed child care providers.