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​Early Learning Provider Requirements

Message to all current family child care homes (FCCH)

On Dec. 28, 2015, Governor Wolf signed a law that requires family child care homes to become certified or licensed.  A family child care home's current certificate of registration is valid until replaced by a certificate of compliance or license. 

Under the new law:

    • Family child care homes will no longer become registered.
    • All family child care homes must be inspected by the Department of Human Services (DHS) prior to receiving a certificate of compliance.

All current family child care operators are strongly encouraged to submit their renewal applications as soon as possible, but must submit no later than 30 days prior to the expiration date of their certificate of registration. 

If the department does not receive a renewal application within 30 days of the expiration date on the current certificate of registration, the regional staff will contact the provider to determine if the provider intends to renew their certificate.

The process to receive a certificate of compliance will take longer as, when there is a complete renewal application from the operator, the Department must first conduct an inspection and determine compliance with the family child care regulations in Chapter 3290. 

The certification representative will assist providers in meeting regulatory compliance.

Once the department determines there is compliance with the regulations in Chapter 3290, it will issue a certificate of compliance.

Family child care regulations, Chapter 3290:  

For more information or to speak to a certification staff person or receive a renewal application, contact your regional office of child care and early learning.

For new applicants to operate a FCCH, a pre-service inspection is now required before a certificate of compliance can be issued to the facility. 

Family Child Care Homes and Friend/Neighbor Caregivers receiving child care subsidy: In 2014, the federal law that oversees and provides funding for child care assistance (Child Care Development Block Grant- CCDBG) was preauthorized for the first time since 1996. In an effort to support families with access to safe, reliable child care, the law will require family child care homes and friend/neighbor caregivers receiving child care subsidy to become certified by November 2016. Click here (link to for more information and steps you can take to prepare for these changes.

Child care and early learning providers operating a program for four or more unrelated children must be certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. The Department regulates three types of child care facilities:

    • Child Care Center: A child care facility in which seven or more children who are not related to the operator receive child care. A child care center must have a certificate of compliance ("license") from the Department of Human Services (DHS) in order to legally operate.
    • Group Child Care Home: A child care facility in which seven through 12 children of various ages or in which seven through 15 children from 4th grade through 15 years of age who are not related to the operator receive child care. A group child care home must have a certificate of compliance ("license") from DHS in order to legally operate.
    • Family Child Care Home: A child care facility located in a home in which four, five, or six children who are not related to the caregiver receive child care. A family child care home must have a certificate of compliance ("license") from DHS in order to legally operate.

If you are interested in operating a child care facility, you should contact the Department of Human Services Regional Child Development Office that regulates child care facilities in your county. Each regional office is assigned responsibility for facilities located in specific counties in Pennsylvania.

Staff in Regional Offices conduct orientation sessions for prospective child care providers in which you can obtain information related to opening and operating a child care facility.  Attendance at an orientation session is required prior to receiving a certificate of compliance or registration.  Effective September 30, 2016, all prospective child care operators must provide verification that they have completed training in 10 health and safety training topics as prescribed by the Federal Government in order to receive a certificate of compliance.  There is an on-line module that can be accessed at: where prospective providers can take 9 of the 10 topics.  The 10th topic is Pediatric CPR and Pediatric First Aid.  The prospective provider would have to contact the American Red Cross, the ELRC or another training organization to determine how to obtain the face to face training for the Pediatric CPR and First Aid.  Information for the ELRC can be accessed at

Staff in your Regional Office can provide information regarding the laws and regulations pertaining to child care facilities and can answer questions regarding the requirements for operating a child care facility. In addition, regional staff inspect child care facilities and provide technical assistance to child care providers.

The child care regulations are available on the Web at the following links:

Orientation Training for Child Care Providers

If you have questions regarding the child care regulations, please contact your Regional Child Development Office. If you cannot find the information you need, please contact DHS.

Child Care Announcements