Start Your Daycare or Preschool in Indiana

This page is INFORMATIONAL ONLY and we strongly recommend that you contact the Licensing Agency for Indiana directly. Please visit the Indiana Childcare Licensing Website today!

Family Childcare Home
Childcare Center
Max Children
5 or less children
6 – 12 (plus additional 3 during the school year if they are at least in 1st grade)
based on location
Providers Kids Included?
No, your kids can be in addition to this
No, your kids can be in addition to this

Where should you start?

The hardest part of starting a daycare is figuring out how to begin the process. Right?

Maybe you have searched around already and are puzzled by the state requirements. Don’t worry. We have been there and can simplify this process for you.

Below you will find 5 easy steps to get your in-home Indiana daycare going.

Step 1: Contact the Child Care Resource and Referral Center for your county
Use the form provided in our “How to Start Your Daycare” program to get all the important questions answered

Step 2: Decide if you can start small and be an exempt provider (see the details below for Exempt Family Child Care)
You can always apply to be a licensed provider when you have enough students to necessitate it. Remember, the process for getting students won’t happen overnight. Why increase your costs right away?

Step 3: Begin the setup process for your daycare
See our setup suggestions in the How to Start Your Daycare WITH NO MONEY program

Step 4: Open your small daycare
Everyday management is explained and outlined for you in our program – accounting suggestions and fully customizable forms, contracts, and templates are included with our program.

Step 5: When you are ready, move to the licensed status
Let us know that you want to get registered or licensed and we can help you to do it quickly and affordably.

Exempt Childcare in IN

This is the easiest level to go with.

If you fall into this exempt status, you do not have to register with the state, have home inspections, take the orientation classes, etc.

You can be exempt from licensing if it is:

  • a child care setting with five or fewer unrelated children in care
  • a child care setting where all of the children are related to the provider as her or his parent, stepparent, guardian, legal custodian, or other relative
  • a child care setting which operates less than 4 hours in any 24 hour day

There are benefits to registering with the state though… we will go into those in the next section. However, its great to stay small and grow as you go so there isn’t so much of a financial burden.

Family Childcare in IN

Review the Rules and Regulations for Licensed Child Care Homes

To become a licensed child care home provider:

  • Attend orientation training session #1 (start-up process and information) and then training session #2 (preparation for licensure). Attend a Safe Sleep training session. Contact your local child care resource and referral agency to sign up for these orientation trainings. To find out how to contact the agency in your county call 1-800-299-1627, (click here for child care resource and referral map) or email
  • Prepare home for inspection.
  • Send completed application packet to licensing consultant.
    • If private well, must obtain well water test; and if 25 or more people involved, contact Indiana Department of Environmental Management drinking water branch.
    • Check with local zoning to comply with zoning ordinances.
  • Licensing consultant makes appointment with you for initial inspection.
  • Pass on-site inspection.
  • Recommendation for license is sent to central office for review and approval.
  • License is issued.

Licensed child care homes can accept children on the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) voucher program.

General Requirements

Max # of Children: 6 -12 (plus 3 children during the school year that are enrolled at least in 1st Grade)
Background Check: Required on everyone over 18 living or frequenting the home.
Medical Exam: Within thirty (30) days of application, submit a written medical statement, including proof of a Mantoux tuberculin test or chest x-ray, signed by a physician or a certified nurse practitioner.

Training Required

Orientation Class: Yes (8 hours of free training)
Abuse and Neglect Class: no
Adult / Infant First Aid and CPR: Providers must have this and be current at all times

Inspections Required

State Inspections: Every 2 years (or sooner if a complaint is filed)
Sanitation Inspection Required for License: No (Inspection is done by the licensing agency)
Water tests: Yes, to show your water is drinkable