Family child care providers take care of a small group of children in their own home, such as a house, apartment or condominium unit.

Are family child care homes licensed?

To ensure a safe care environment, states and territories use child care licensing regulations to limit the number of children that can receive care in a family child care home. Child care regulations (DCF 250) in Wisconsin also limit the number of infants and toddlers that can be cared for in a licensed family child care home to ensure proper supervision and safety. When a family child care home is licensed, the provider must also meet a variety of health and safety requirements, including training (such as CPR/First aid) and criminal background check requirements. They are also monitored by the state or territory to ensure that they continue to meet those requirements.

Depending on the child care regulations in your state or territory, some family child care providers may be legally considered license-exempt in certain circumstances. For example, some states and territories require a family child care provider to be licensed when caring for more than one unrelated child in their household, while others may not require a license until the provider cares for six or more children. Some states may offer certification or registration to help ensure some basic health and safety standards in certain family child care programs. Specific requirements vary by state.

Although some family child care providers may be legally exempt from having a license, it is important to understand the difference between these programs and those that require a license but operate illegally without

a license.

To learn more about what child care licensing is and why it’s important, see the “Ensuring Safe and Healthy Child Care” page.


If you are considering family child care, it is important to know how your state regulates family child care programs so that you can choose the safest care option for your son or daughter. Always ask if a family child care provider is licensed or check your state’s consumer education website or local child care resource and referral agency to see if your provider is required to be licensed.

To find your state’s child care consumer education website and child care resource and referral agency and learn about family child care licensing requirements in your state or territory, select your state or territory on the page “View your States Resources” and review the “Understanding and Finding Child Care” tab.

Why choose a family child care home?

Families choose family child care homes for a variety of reasons, including the following:

Families may prefer the familiar environment and small group sizes.

Family child care providers are able to provide greater consistency of care because children do not move to different classrooms with different staff as they would in a center-based setting.

Family child care providers may offer more flexible hours, such as evening and weekend care.

Families with multiple children may prefer siblings to be cared for together rather than separated into different age groups.

Family child care providers may be less expensive than center-based programs, but rates within your community may vary.

How do I find and choose a family child care home?

To find licensed family child care homes in your area through your state or territories online child care search, go to the “Find Child Care” page and select your state or territory.

For more information on how to find and choose quality child care, visit the page “How do i find and choose quality child care?”




Fully Support Children’s Creative ExpressionsFeatured

Divide the arts into categories, creative dramatization music, purposeful movement and visual arts.

The process of experimenting and expressing or creating art is a way that children can synthesize all that they are learning about the world, especially the natural world.

Dramatic play can be interpreted and understood through the ways children engage in elaborate and imaginative play, showing us what they are thinking and how they are making sense of what is going on around them.

When children use parts of natural objects, such as stumps, sticks, and pine seeds, that play is taking on a new richness- ask them to come up with their own ideas and create their own accessories. Sometimes they get immersed in an enchanting world of fantasy for a while.

Music and Movement

Nature, music and movement work very well together. We know that all children, but especially those who are truly kinesthetic, need to move in order to learn. By helping them learn what their bodies are capable of and how to regulate it, the natural outdoor classroom provides the space for children to engage in a wide variety of movements, even including real jobs like digging holes and raking leaves. When musical instruments are available every day, children often link their movements to music. They can jump like a friend beating a drum or float like a butterfly, dancing with handkerchiefs.

Another unique opportunity that the outdoors offers is the practice of attentive listening. Children develop valuable musical understanding as they try to match the notes played with their voices or experiment with pitch and volume. One child that I observed in an outdoor classroom would regularly watch and listen to birds and then try to call and respond with them, hoping they would enjoy her songs as much as she enjoyed theirs.

Visual arts

Consider how the aesthetics of environments support creativity.

The beauty of nature inspires much of the art we see in museums and elsewhere, so it should come as no surprise that children respond in the same way.

Developmentally appropriate practice calls for us on the process of creation rather than the product, and outdoor art areas can truly inspire children’s processes.

Processes can include stone mosaics, mud paintings on easels and sidewalks, and snow sculptures waiting for the warmth of the sun to melt them into new shapes. The great messy artwork that can happen with materials like these that can ensure that artistic creation is a very sensory experience.

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and navigating.” Learning to interpret the world around us so that we can find our place in it and be able to contribute to it. That is what education is all about. Creativity is the way children express their uniqueness.

When they make stories, make music, draw, they make visible what they know, what they feel and who they are. We can learn more from our children.


SPOTLIGHT: Overcoming Reflection

My name is José M. Hernandez, in September 1999, I emigrated to the united states to the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

I started working in different magazines and plastic factories. In September of 2003, I married María Ester Aguilera and we have 3 boys of 18,16, and 13 years old.

In January 2012, my wife’s dream of having our own business related to child care came true, which she named as “Green Planet Day care”. After so many years of effort from my wife.

So I started taking the first classes for early age care so we could work together and for this I needed to take certain basic classes that included: CPR, abuse and neglect, shaken baby syndrome, crib death.

I also took credentials for infants and toddlers and administration at MATC. Finally, in 2021 I graduated with an associate degree in early childhood education at MATC. I think that the more I prepare myself academically, the better the quality of child care will be.

What inspired me to study the associate in early education was to see my wife who has a gift for teaching the children in her care and how grateful the parents are with her.

Then I got involved little by little in the day care and began to prepare myself to be more professional in this field. My children were my other reason to finish my studies and be an example despite my age, it is never too late to learn and of course “yes you can” despite the obstacles, always stay focused on what you want and you will succeed, even if you have not yet mastered the language.

I thank god and this country that have given me so much and I thank each of the people who were by my side, especially my wife and my children.

Written By José M. Hernandez