Open a New Child Care Program

Ready to take the next step in your career and open a new child care program? Find resources that will help you prepare, develop your approach, and create a successful business. 

Decide what type of program you want to run

In Connecticut, there are a few different types of licensed child care:

  • Family child care home. This is a type of child care program that you would open in your own home. These programs are usually small and may have up to 6 to 9 children.
  • Child care center. This type of program is bigger, like a day care center or after-school program. These programs may have more than 12 children. 
  • Group child care home. This type of program is less common in Connecticut, and it might be either in your home or in a building like a school. These programs may have up to 12 children.

Before you can open your program, you need to apply for a license from OEC. The process has several steps, including a background check, medical exam, and more. Learn about the process for each type of program on our Licensing page.

After your licensing application is processed, OEC will give you guidance about how to meet health and safety requirements and get ready for an inspection.

Are you ready to start your own program?

Fill out this self-evaluation from Child Care Aware.

Develop your approach and get ready

Launching your own child care program means you’re starting a business. So take some time to set it up for success. Here are some questions to ask yourself.

  • What are the child care needs of your community? What are parents looking for?
  • Who are your competitors? How will your program be different from others in the area?
  • Will you need to find a location? If you plan to run the program from your home, will you need to buy equipment or make renovations?
  • If you’re opening a family child care program in your home, does your family fully understand how it will affect their lives?
  • How will you advertise and let people know about your program? 

There are a lot of logistics to think through. These resources will help. 

  • Get guidance from the Office of Child Care. The Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance System — part of the federal Office of Child Care — has a comprehensive rundown for new providers on how to start and run a child care business. It covers everything from developing your business to getting insurance. Read the guide for child care operators.
  • How much should you charge? Take a look at up-to-date average rates in Connecticut.
  • Connect with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). This professional membership organization works to promote high quality learning by connecting practice, policy, and research. Find resources, learn about events, and get involved. Learn more from NAEYC.

Benefits of an OEC license

When you license your child care program with OEC, you can:
• Access helpful resources to support your business
• Connect with professionals who can guide and support you
• Advertise that you’re licensed — it’s proof to parents that you meet health and safety standards

Find resources for family child care home programs

Guidance

  • Learn about opening a family child care home. OEC’s Licensing Division created a video to help you understand the licensing process. Learn how to apply, what to expect during an inspection, and more. Watch the family child care home video
  • Need to develop contracts and policies? 2-1-1 has sample child care provider agreements and policies you can use as models. Take a look at examples from 2-1-1
  • Learn more from 2-1-1. 2-1-1 has a short handout on becoming a family child care home provider, including information about the licensing process. Read the 2-1-1 handout. 
  • Get a rundown from Child Care Aware. Learn about the steps you need to follow to create a successful family child care home program. Learn more from Child Care Aware.

Support

  • Join a staffed Family Child Care Network. Family Child Care Networks are community initiatives that have paid staff with expertise working with family child care providers. They offer a number of ongoing support services and resources to affiliated family child care providers, which may include professional development, coaching and consultation, and business and administrative supports. Learn more about these networks and our CTCARES for family child care.
  • Get support from provider associations. Family child care associations can be a powerful resource when you’re starting a new program. These independent groups can help you connect with providers in your area, learn from their experiences, and join meetings and trainings that will support you. Find a family child care association in your area.
  • Talk to experts from the Family Child Care Career Support Project. 2-1-1 runs a free program for people starting new family child care home programs. Experts can talk to you on the phone and meet you at home to talk about establishing your business, setting daily routines, communicating with parents, and more. Read a brochure about the Support Project  or dial 2-1-1.
  • Connect with the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC). NAFCC is the national organization dedicated to family child care. Check out their business center for information about establishing a family child care home, contracts and policies, taxes, marketing and more.  

Find resources for child care centers and group child care homes

Last updated September 8, 2020