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Starting a Home Child Care Business in the City of Philadelphia

This presentation is for Philadelphia residents hoping to open a child care business within their home.

Marissa McGarry

on 13 August 2013

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Transcript of Starting a Home Child Care Business in the City of Philadelphia

According to the Public Welfare Code, child day care is care that is given to children under 16 years old, away from their own homes. This care is given as a part of the 24 hour day instead of parental care.
The Philadelphia Department of Commerce knows that it can be hard to understand the child care licensing requirements set by the city and the state. We want to make this process as easy as possible for you, so you can focus on running a great business.

In order to do that, we have created this presentation, which will walk you through the processes necessary to receive certification for your new child care facility.

Enjoy, and good luck!
The Philadelphia Department of Commerce assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the content in this presentation. Child care licensing is completed by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections, and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Anyone interested in opening a child care business should check the websites of these departments to ensure that all information provided here is correct and up-to-date.
Family Child Care Home
Step 1: Attend orientation
The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare offers orientation programs across the state for people interested in opening a child care business. The orientation will guide you through the process explained below, so it would be best to attend orientation before moving on to other steps.

This orientation is required and must be completed at some point in the 12 months BEFORE you submit your application to the state.
The DPW orientation schedule for Family Child Care Homes can be found here:

Please note that all participants must pre-register.
Step 2: Check educational/staff requirements
Step 3: Check your home for safety issues
Step 4: Check your homeowner insurance policy
Step 5: Decide if you'd like to incorporate your business
Step 6: Decide if you will need a "fictitious name'' for your business
Step 7: Get all of your required clearances
Pennsylvania requires Family Child Care Homes to provide ALL of the following clearances for the owner and anyone 18 years and older who lives in the childcare facility for more than 30 days per year:

Child Abuse History Clearance

FBI Criminal History Clearance

Criminal Record Clearance
Anyone interested in opening a Family Child Care Home should first make sure that they meet the requirements set by the state.

All Family Child Care Home owners must be 18 years or older and must have a high school diploma or a GED.
More information on age and training requirements for Family Child Care Home staff can be found in Title 55 Chapter 3290 Section 3290.31 of the Pennsylvania Code.

The Pennsylvania Code explains the safety regulations that a Family Child Care Home must meet. Before applying for a certificate of registration, please read through these regulations and check to see if your home may need any renovations.
These regulations can be found in Title 55 Chapter 3290 of the Pennsylvania Code.

Call your local homeowner insurance agent to ask if your child care business would be covered under your policy.
If you want to incorporate your business, you will need to send a copy of your Articles of Incorporation with your application.
If you want to give your business a name that is different from your own legal name, you need to apply for a "fictitious name" for your business.
Child Abuse History Clearance
The child care business owner and all other adults living in the child care facility for more than 30 days per year must each send in a separate application. Each application should be submitted with a money order for $10 to the following address:

Department of Public Welfare
ChildLine and Abuse Registry
P.O. Box 8170
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8170

The application form can be found here:
FBI Criminal History Clearance
Register for an FBI Criminal History Clearance here:

The fee for this service is $27.50.
PA State Criminal Record Clearance
The criminal record clearance can be requested from the PA State Police Department for a fee of $10.

The application form can be found here:
Step 8: Decide if you are going to participate in the child care subsidy and/or Reference and Referral program
The Department of Public Welfare runs a child care subsidy program for low-income families. If you are interested in having your business participate in the program, you will need to submit a form with your application. This form can be found in the Family Child Care Home orientation handbook.
Step 9: Complete your Staff Health
Assessment Form
The Staff Health Assessment Form must be submitted with your application. The form can be completed by your doctor after a physical examination.

The form can be found here:
Step 10: Learn your business's category on the city level
"Family Child Care Home" is a state level.
Most businesses at this level will fall under the city category of "Family Child Care." The city has a separate application process from the state, and both must be complete before opening a child care business.
More information about filing for Articles of Incorporation can be found here:
More information about filing your Application for Registration of Fictitious Names can be found here: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/corporations/12457/x_ficticious_names/571874
Defining Family Child Care
A Family Child Care facility must only house one or two families, and it must be the business owner's primary residence.

The location must also not serve more children than the number approved by the zoning permit, with a maximum of 12.

Family Child Care businesses with a maximum of 5 children may also be located in an area zoned for commercial use.

In City Council Districts 6 and 10, however, a maximum of 4 children are allowed in a Family Child Care business.
Step A: Get a Business Tax Number
All businesses in the City of Philadelphia need a Business Tax Number.

More information about applying for this number can be found here:
Step B: Get a Commercial Activity License
All businesses in Philadelphia, with a few exceptions, are required to have a Commercial Activity License (formerly the Business Privilege License). The fee for this is currently $50.

More information about applying for the Commercial Activity License can be found here:
Step C: Get zoning approval
Anyone interested in opening a business in Philadelphia will need to first apply for a Zoning and Use Registration Permit.

More information about this application can be found here:
Step D: Contact the Department
of Public Health
All child care businesses must get a License Eligibility Report from the Department of Public Health. This process includes sending the department your plans, completing a food safety course, and passing a site inspection.

For more information, please call the Office of Food Protection at (215) 685-7495.
Step E: Submit your Family Child Care Application
Anyone wanting to open a Family Child Care business in Philadelphia must submit a completed application form to the Department of Licenses and Inspections, along with the following:
Proof of zoning approval
License Eligibility Report
$50 annual license fee

The application form can be found here:
Step F: Arrange a site fire inspection
State Requirements
City Requirements
Steps to Starting Your Family Child Care Home
Once your application has been received by the Department of Licenses and Inspections, you may call your District Office to set up a fire inspection. Please call 311 for information on this process.

The fire safety requirements for a Family Child Care business can be found here:
Final Step: Submit your completed application to the State Department of Public Welfare
For Family Child Care Homes, a completed application package would include:
1. Completed Application for Registration Certificate, Family Child Care
This application can be found in the handbook you receive at orientation.

2. A copy of your Certificate of Occupancy

3. Your Child Abuse History Clearance Form

4. Child Abuse History Clearance forms for everyone over the age of 18 who lives in your home

5. Your Criminal Record Check form from the Pennsylvania State Police

6. Criminal Record Check forms from the Pennsylvania State Police for everyone over the age of 18 who lives in your home

7. Your FBI Criminal History Clearance letter (from ChildLine)

8. FBI Criminal History Clearance letters (from ChildLine) for everyone over the age of 18 who lives in your home

9. A copy of your completed and signed Staff Health Assessment form

10. A copy of your signed certificate for attending the “Getting Started in Family Child Care” orientation

11. A copy of the Articles of Incorporation, if you incorporated your child care business

12. A copy of the fictitious name approval form, if you plan to use a fictitious name for your business

13. Completed “Tax Information: Family Child Care Home” form, if you would like to participate in the child care subsidy and/or Resource and Referral programs – remember to include a copy of your social security card
Mail all completed applications to:
Southeast Region Bureau of Certification
DPW – Office of Child Development and Early Learning
801 Market Street
Suite 5132
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3126

Please make and keep a copy of all of your application material before you mail it.
A Family Child Care Home is a child care business located in the owner's home, serving 4, 5, or 6 children at a time. This is the only option at the state-level for child care businesses located in a home.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia have separate laws on child care businesses. This presentation will walk you through the process on both levels if you want to open a child care facility in your home.

NOTE: If you are not planning on opening a child care facility in your home, but you want to open one in another location, please see our other presentation for more information:
Family Child Care
Family Child Care is one of two business categories at the city level in Philadelphia. This is the only category that applies to businesses operating in the owner's home.
More Resources and Contact Information
Department of Public Welfare
Department of Commerce
Office of Business Services
Department of Licenses and Inspections
Call 311 or visit:
Office of Food Protection

Call 311 from anywhere in Philadelphia
PA Department of State
Corporation Bureau
PA Code
Family Child Care Homes
Steps to Starting Your Family Child Care Business
Full transcript