Opening a Family Child Care

For those just getting started or thinking about entering this rewarding field start by checking out the series of posts about opening a small business offering family child care services that follows.

Material for this series has been pulled together from a variety of resources by members of FCCAM. We have done our best to have quality sources and valid links. Please feel free to contact us at any time with specific questions. 

FCCAM also encourages anyone that is exploring starting a family child care, who has begun the process, or even recently completed the process to check out Maine Roads to Quality Online Community of Practice, “First Steps to Family Child Care”, which is offered in partnership with The Family Child Care Association of Maine, (FCCAM). This CoP meets from 6:00-8:00 pm via Zoom on the 4th Monday each month.


This is an interactive session where you can bring your questions and come learn about steps to becoming a licensed family childcare provider. If you are newly licensed and have questions please come talk with us as well. There will always be an experienced family child care provider there to share their experiences and knowledge.

A link will be emailed to people who register one week prior to the meeting and again in the afternoon on the day of the meeting. Professional growth hours will be given for the time you attend. You can reach out to Tammy Dwyer with questions at tammy.dwyer@maine.edu.

Register Here


Part 1: Is FCC a Good Fit and Where Do I Start the Process?

Becoming a small business owner as a family child care provider is not for everyone. When you welcome children into your home providing a nurturing, safe environment supporting their development, you are not “babysitting”.

Providing child care in your home is an important job that many find to be a good fit for themselves and their family, a sustainable small business and a fulfilling career choice.

You need a business plan, an understanding of the regulations you need to meet on the state and local level, and an awareness of the support services available to you. As a potential family child care provider, you must apply for a license to operate your family child care. Meaning you have to comply with the Licensing Rule currently governing family child care programs.

Part 1 provides information and link on applying for your license, looking at policies and building your Care Agreement. The “Business Toolkit” provides you with information that covers the building of a “Care Agreement” .


Part 2: Business Plan

A simple business plan will help you think through what you want in your program, rather than only what you can afford. Your business plan will show that your business will generate enough revenue to cover your expenses and make a satisfactory return (your salary), develop your marketing strategy and help set long-term goals. Having long-term goals will guide you in making some hard decisions moving forward, while supporting the type of program you establish.

Don’t let the idea of a business plan scare you. It’s really just looking at questions that pertain to what you hope your business to be and honestly answering them.


Part 3: Equipment

In Part 3, we are looking to provide some direction to types of equipment that has continually shown it’s value in meeting the developmental needs of children. You might be surprised with how easy it is to provide a nurturing, developmentally responsive environment for the children you are looking to provide care for. 

Every family child care is unique and thus it’s impossible to say “Here get this….” or even “You need this….”.  Deciding what equipment works for your program and space; what is really necessary; and what can be put on the future purchase list – is only a decision that you can make.


Tom Copeland produced a series of videos that summarize the key aspects of what it means to run a family child care business for the National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance. Each video is no longer than 15 minutes and closed captioned. Each video stands on it’s on so videos can be viewed in any order or pick just the one or two you have questions about.

Top Three Record Keeping Tips for Family Child Care Providers

What Are the Two Most Important Terms to Include in a Contract?

Is Your Home, Business and Vehicle Properly Insured?

What is the Best Business Structure for a Family Child Care Provider?

How Do Providers Pay Themselves?

How to Find and Choose a Tax Preparer

When is the Best Time to Start Claiming Social Security Benefits?

How Much Should You Save for Your Retirement?