SC Child care Resource and Referral Network - child care provider and parent resources for South Carolina

provider services...getting started in childcare

Taking Care of Other People's Children is an Important Business
Some people are suited for the job and others are not. As a licensed or regulated child care provider you will need to have the skills to care for children on a daily basis. We want to help you decide whether or not being a licensed or regulated child care provider is a good occupation for you.

There are many things to consider when deciding whether to start a licensed or regulated child care business.

The information on this web page is designed to provide some basic information so you can make your decision with confidence.

Benefits of Becoming a Licensed or Regulated Child Care Provider

  • Offers assurance to parents that your facility is regulated and you have received appropriate training approved by your local county social services.
  • Play a key role in your community by offering a needed service.
  • If you have children, they will benefit by learning to share and care for others.
  • Increase your skills with resources and training opportunities that are available to help you do your job.
  • Expand your tax deductions by reporting expenses for toys, equipment and supplies, as well as some of the upkeep on your home.
  • Be your own boss, set your own schedule and earn an income at home.


Qualities of Successful Child Care Providers

  • Enjoy working with others
  • Energetic
  • Enthusiastic
  • Self-Motivated
  • Nurturing
  • Creative
  • Organized
  • Good Communicator
  • Curious
  • Flexible
  • Commitment


Types of Child Care

Family child care: offered in the home of the provider. May provide care for up to six (6) children at any given time. Registration or licensure is required if a person provides care to more than one unrelated family of children on a regular basis (more than two days a week and more than four hours a day).

Group child care: Applies to facilities operating with a capacity from seven (7) to twelve (12) children. May care for eight (8)children without an additional caregiver. When the attendance reaches nine or there are more than three children under the age of 24 months, an additional caregiver must be present at all times. In addition, there must be an emergency backup person available that is not included in the staff to child ratio. A Group Child Care Home may be in a residence or a separate building. If you reside in a mobile home, you may contact the State Fire Marshal's office (803-896-9800) to discuss if the structure meets Fire Codes.

Child Care Center: Applies to facilities operating with a capacity of 13 or more children. Must be licensed or approved if the program operates more than four hours a day and more than two days a week. Programs that operate less than four hours a day may keep children during school vacations and holidays and be exempt from licensing.

Some centers are owned by private, for-profit businesses and some are operated by non-profit entities such as religious groups, parent boards or hospitals. The number of children a center can provide care for at any given time is based on square footage.

For more information on Child Care Regulations:


Considerations for Your Child Care Business

Are you physically and emotionally capable? You need to be prepared to be attentive to children’s needs for 8 to 10 hours a day and be physically capable of lifting children. It also helps to be self-motivated and have good communication skills

Is there a need for child care in your area? You will want to tailor your business to meet the needs of families in your area. To find out about the supply of and demand for child care in your neighborhood or town, call your Child Care Resource and Referral office.

What is the potential income? Planning a preliminary budget for your child care business is very important. The most effective approach to determine your income is to estimate the number of children you will be caring for and multiply that number by the rates you will be charging.
Information on the average rates other licensed or regulated child care providers in your area charge and assistance in budget planning are available at your Child Care Resource and Referral office.

How do parents access your licensed or regulated child care service? You will want to contact a Child Care Resource and Referral office as soon as you are licensed or regulated to get your business information into the referral database. By doing so, your program will be promoted through the referral service.

When parents call the Child Care Resource and Referral office looking for child care, they will discuss with a staff member their family's preference for the location, hours of operation, number and ages of children and special program services. The family's care preferences will be entered into a computer that generates the names and phone numbers of the licensed and/or regulated child care providers who match the family's specific requests. The child care providers' names will be given to parents using the referral service. As the consumer shopping for child care, the parents will use the list to contact the child care providers of their choosing, schedule interviews and pre-visits.

There is no fee for child care providers to participate in the Child Care Referral System!

Where do you find resources and support for your new in home licensed or regulated child care business?

Your local Child Care Resource and Referral office can help you in many ways, including:

  • Lending libraries of equipment, books and videos
  • Data on current demand for child care to assist in program planning
  • When available, information on start up grants and training scholarships
  • Assistance in filling vacancies when enrolled in the referral system