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Getting Started - Home Daycare in Iowa

Updated on October 2, 2009

Getting Started


If you’ve found this site you are most likely interested in providing childcare in your home or you already provide care and wish to become a registered provider. The process is actually quite simple and I will provide you with my experience and resources to help you accomplish your goal of registration.

Getting Started:

In the state of Iowa you will need to meet certain guidelines to qualify for registration. There are three different categories of registration, A, B and C. If you are just starting out you will begin with category A. Experience providers will consider advancing to a B or C category, but for this I will focus on category A only.

Category A homes are limited to no more than 6 children total in your care, including your own children. You are also not allowed to have more than 4 children under the age of 24 months and of those 4 children only 3 can be under 18 months. From personal experience, I really did not like having more than 2 children under the age of 24 months at a time. A non-registered provider may only have 5 children including their own. Other requirements are that you have your high school diploma or a GED and be at least 18 years old. You will also want to have your CPR and 1st Aid certifications as well as training in the reporting of child abuse. All three of these trainings will need to be completed within your first year of business. You are also required to have a smoke detector and fire extinguisher.

 The following link is a pdf version of Department of Human Services policies for child development homes. It has many useful resources including forms and information regarding regulations for the state of Iowa.

Next Steps

 Once you've read through DHS regulations you are ready to submit your application. The process may take several months to complete, as some DHS offices are quite backed up and understaffed. You will be asked to fill out a criminal record background check before you are given registration in the state of Iowa. If you have anything on your record questionable DHS will send you a certified letter requesting further information about the item on your record. If it is satisfactory and would not interfere with your childcare they will award registration.

Once you have received your registration you will post your certificate in a visible area in your home! Enjoy knowing you meet all DHS regulations and families will have peace of mind knowing they are bringing their children to a quality program!


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      Amber 4 years ago

      What is the number to contact to get the application?