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Child Care Licensing
Ramsey County licenses family child care in homes and settings other than child care centers, offers training, and monitors child care homes to support the health and safety of children.
Potential child care license applicants must attend an initial orientation meeting to decide if family child care right business for their family.
Currently, all orientations are virtual and conducted over Zoom. Prospective applicants must have an email addresses to participate.
- You will receive application materials by email.
- People arriving 15 minutes beyond start time of the Zoom session may not be allowed to attend.
- If school and after school activities are closed due to inclement weather, our training/orientation will also be canceled. Cancellations for reasons other than the weather will be posted on this webpage.
- Children are not allowed to attend Zoom orientation sessions.
- Upcoming orientations
Training requirements for applicants
License applicants should contact their intake worker about training completed prior to submitting your family childcare license application to the agency. Training must be approved by the MN Center for Professional Development.
- Training Requirements for Licensed Family Child Care as of Sept. 30, 2020 (PDF)
- Family Child Care Training Requirements Statute
A new and enhanced background study is required for all new applicants. Applicants must pay processing fees of $50 for a one-year license and $100 for a two-year license. These fees must be paid before a license is issued. For more information about the new background study requirements, please visit the Minnesota Department of Human Services website and find Family Child Care Licensing.
People who provide childcare in Minnesota must have a license from the Minnesota Department of Human Services. It is a misdemeanor to provide childcare without a license. However, under state law there are exclusions to this rule. See below for exclusions:
Both licensed and legal unlicensed family child care providers may be “registered” to provide care to children whose parents are eligible to receive childcare subsidy. Such registration allows providers to receive payment from the Child Care Assistance Program. You will need to contact the Ramsey County Child Care Payment & Registration Unit at: 651-266-4242 to obtain the registration paperwork and information about the child care reimbursement rates.
Rules and statutes
The State of Minnesota defines minimum standards a family child care provider must meet to be recommended for licensure. The rules and statutes also specify guidelines for caregiver qualifications, caregiver training, license capacity, age distribution restrictions, behavior guidance, provider records, activities and equipment, safety of the physical environment, sanitation and health, and nutrition.
The 2020 Legislature made changes to variance requests by licensed family child care programs that go into effect January 1, 2021. The first change is that counties must use a uniform application form developed by the commissioner for variance requests by family child care license holders. The second change directs counties to publish their policies and criteria for issuing variances on their public websites and also distribute those policies to all family child care license holders annually.
Family child care providers may request a variance if they need to deviate from a specific rule, under certain conditions, unless excluded from the delegation authority under MN 245A.16 subd.1 (MN Rules, part 9543.0030; 9543.0050). Ramsey County licensing team will review these requests and make a final determination whether the variance will be granted. It should be noted that Ramsey County’s decision will be final. It cannot be appealed and it is not reported to DHS.
Variance request instructions
Please complete the required DHS variance request forms found on the Department of Human Services e-documents and email your request to your licensor at least 30 days in advance to when you will need to variance; it will not be retroactively approved.
Completed variances will be reviewed by Ramsey County licensing and management within 14 days of receiving a variance request. If your variance request is approved, your licensor will immediately contact you.
Variance requests must include the following information:
- The part or parts of the rule for which a variance is sought;
- The reasons why a variance from the specified provisions is sought;
- The period of time for which a variance is requested;
- Written approval from the fire marshal, building inspector, or health authority when the variance request is for a variance from a fire, building, or health code; and
- Specific equivalent measures the license holder will take to ensure the health and safety of all children served by the program must be identified by the license holder in the variance request.
- All currently enrolled families and the family of the child for whom the variance is requested must be alerted/acknowledge they are informed of the variance request.
Factors & conditions that will be considered by the licensing agency when evaluating a variance request
- The reasons the license holder cannot comply with a requirement as stated in the rule and the alternative equivalent measures the license holder will follow to comply with the intent of the rule;
- The license holder will comply with all applicable laws, ordinances, and regulations during the variance period;
- No variances will be approved for an increase of capacity.
- Variances will be considered related to age distribution restrictions.
- No variances will be approved for more than 3 infants at any one time.
- The length of time for which a variance will be granted shall not exceed 90 days.
- A maximum of one variance request will be approved, per provider, annually.
- A change in license class will be assessed when addressing a variance request (i.e., rather than granting the variance request).
- The license holder must have at least one year of license history before submitting a variance request.
- A license holder who is not currently under investigation by Child Protection or Licensing can submit a variance request.
- If there is a negative licensing action on a license, it has been more than 3 months since the licensing action ended.
- No variance will be approved for a license holder with outstanding correction order/s related to child safety issues.
- The license holder must have appropriate equipment to accommodate the number of children they have in care and have emergency transportation plans for all children in care; and demonstrate measures taken to ensure safety needs of a child in their care who has special needs are met during the variance period;
- MN Statutes section 245A.16 subdivision 1 (Standards for County Agencies and Private Agencies)
- MN Rule Part 9502.0335 subpart 8 (Variance Standard)
- MN Rule Part 9502.0335 subpart 8a (Variance Procedure)
- MN Rule Part 9543.0030 (Licensing Functions)
- MN Rule Part 9543.0050 (Variance Requests)
- Consumer recalls from the Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Crib regulations from Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Child care provider directory
- Department of Human Services Online Licensing Lookup
- Fire extinguisher testing
- Minnesota Poison Control safety tips
- Poisonous plants and family child care guidance (PDF)
- Ramsey County Family Child Care Association
- State Fire Marshal fire safety
- State of Minnesota Training Registration
- Think Small classes
Each year Ramsey County holds Child Care Listening Sessions where child care professionals can ask questions, voice opinions and connect with county staff. The listening sessions can assist child care professionals in identifying, addressing and resolving problems.
If you would like to request an interpreter or have questions regarding the sessions, contact Brian Theine at 651-266-4448. Please make requests three or more business days before the session.
Watch for the 2022 schedule.