How To Open A Family Daycare

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For some families with young children, working a traditional nine-to-five job just doesn’t make sense anymore. Between day care and after-school care services, the take home pay of some parents go right back out in childcare fees.

As a result, some parents are choosing to stay home and watch their own kids while providing childcare services to other families. This allows them to satisfy their own childcare needs while simultaneously earning a living and at the same time starting a business.

This idea is not only being adapted by parents, but also by people who love children and are looking to start a childcare business.

In New York City all daycares are licensed and monitored by the Department of Health’s (DHO) Bureau of Daycare.  Family daycare is the term used for operating a daycare inside one’s home. This type of daycare can accommodate approximately five to seven kids; depending on the age range of children being served.

Potential providers with children cannot forget to count their own children, because they too will be counted in their family daycare’s license capacity. If you stick to the following 10 steps, you will be well on your way to opening a family daycare.

   1. Contact the DOH in your borough and attend a Family Daycare orientation.
   2. Obtain an application from the DOH office.
   3. Consider all legal aspects of running a family daycare.
   4. Take the 15 hour course required of all Family Day Care Providers.
   5. Submit your application to the DOH.
   6. While waiting for approval, start to arrange the designated space in your home to operate your daycare.
   7. Prepare your daycare’s application materials. All of your documents should look professional and be free of typos.
   8. Select a bookkeeping method.
   9. Purchase early childhood furniture, materials and curriculum to use in your daycare.
  10. After inspection of your home, and permission to commence operations. Open your doors to the public.  

Now that you know what to do, do not forget the most important thing to do which is to advertise. Sometimes, it may take time for the DOH to issue you all of your approvals to start operating your family daycare. So, while you wait, a good pastime would be to tour other daycares in your neighborhood.

Find out which schools could potentially help you and your student enrollment. Arrange a tour, obtain an application package and most importantly find out what age range of children they provide services to. Most licensed DOH childcare centers usually take students from ages two years and up. And, many of them would not mind to send infant referrals your way. Make sure you have your fliers ready to go and maybe some information on a possible open house. People like to refer people to places that they know are good and they can personally vouch for.

As a director of a childcare center and elementary school principal, I always tell every potential teacher that I interview that they must love kids to be employed here. Working with kids is not just a job or a lucrative business start up, but a calling for a selected few.

Sophia Francis is an Early Childhood Specialist and lives in New York City.  She can be reached at [email protected].


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