HOT TIP: “Learn how to use (and buy) a computer. You cannot run a business from your phone.”

Are You Ready to Open a Child Care Business?

Opening and operating a child care program is a big undertaking. Take some time to think about why you want to start a child care business and to consider some important questions before you get started.

Take a self-assessment here!   Family Child Care Provider Self-Assessment      Child Care Center Self-Assessment

Child Care Information Sessions

Are you looking to open your own Child Care Program and are wondering which type of regulated child care to choose?

Certified or Licensed Family?   Licensed Group??  If you are interested in becoming a regulated child care provider and cannot decide which type would be the best for you, please join us at one of the following information sessions where you will learn about:

  • The different types of regulated child care in Wisconsin
  • The steps you need to take to start the process for each type

All sessions take place virtually online via Zoom. A link will be emailed to you the day before the session.

$10.00 registration fee for cost & materials

Register by selecting the link next to the date – All sessions are held 6:00pm – 8:00pm

July 10 Click here to register:  Event # 942381

August 14 Click here to register: Event # 942382

September 11 Click here to register: Event #942387

October 9 Click here to register: Event #942391

November 13 Click here to register: Event #942396

December 11 Click here to register: Event #942427

Family Child Care Programs can be regulated as either Certified or Licensed. A general comparison can be found here.

Licensing Inquiry Packet Information

Starting a Licensed Child Care program? Click here to view the inquiry packet on DCF’s website

This packet contains all the necessary materials, forms, and resources to help you begin planning for your child care business. Please review the packet in its entirety before moving to the next step of the pre-licensing process.

AFTER reviewing the Licensing Info Packet, complete a Child Care Business Start-Up Worksheet and email or mail it to Supporting Families Together Association.

Washington County Certification

4C For Children provides certification services for Washington County.

Certification is available for family child care providers who are not required to be licensed, but who wish to care for up to 3 children under 7 years of age, with a maximum number of 6 children in care at one time. Being certified, you are able to provide care for Wisconsin Shares subsidized children, you may participate in the child and adult food program, and receive parent referrals when parents call 4C looking for child care.

For assistance: please contact certifier Carolyn Dame at 262-894-1417

Requirements for Washington County Certification

  • Attend a Child Care Certification Orientation-call to schedule
  • Application packet ($60 fee)
  • Tuberculosis (TB) Test/Screening
  • Background Check/Fingerprinting Requirement
  • Young Star Participation to Accept WI Shares (if accepting families that receive the SHARES benefit)
  • Site Visit
  • Introduction to Child Care Profession
  • Fundamentals of Family Child Care
  • Infant/Child CPR
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)-if caring for children under the age of 1 year
  • Abusive Head Trauma-if caring for children under the age of 5 years (formerly Shaken Baby Syndrome Training)
  • Child Abuse and Neglect Training
  • Enrollment with FIS (Fidelity National Information Services)


Caring for children and helping them learn and grow through the most important developmental years can be an incredibly rewarding profession. In Wisconsin, your journey to becoming an early childhood educator begins with what we call the Pre-Licensing Process. Pre-Licensing is a free service offered to anyone who is interested in obtaining a family child care license or a group child care license.

Visit the Pre-Licensing page by clicking here: PRE-LICENSING