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every child

Types of Care

  /  Types of Care

What Type of Care is the Best Fit for You?

Licensed Child Care Home, Licensed Child Care Center, Unlicensed Registered Ministry

Licensed Child Care Home:

A child care home means is residential structure in which at least six (6) children (not including the children for whom the provider is a parent, stepparent, guardian, custodian, or other relative or any child who is at least fourteen (14) years of age and does not require child care) at any time receive child care from a provider:

  • while unattended by a parent, legal guardian, or custodian
  • for regular compensation
  • for more than 4 hours but less than 24 hours in each of 10 consecutive days per year, excluding intervening Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.

Education required:

All applicants must have a high school diploma/transcript or a high school equivalency certificate from an accredited high school by the date of licensure. A Child Development Associate credential or achievement of a similar program, such as an Associate Degree in Early Childhood, approved by the division is required for the applicant at each licensed home within 3 years of licensure. For more information, please visit their website at www.cdacouncil.org. If you do not have a current CDA, you have 3 years from the date of licensure to complete this. If you have some credit hours in Early Childhood Education at an accredited college/university, they may count toward this credential, allowing you 3 years to obtain the rest of the needed requirements.

Ratios for Child Care Homes:

  • Infants (birth to 12 months) – 4:1
  • Infant/Toddler Mixed (birth through 24 months)  6:1
  • Mixed-Age Groups (birth to 6 years) – 10:1 Only 3 children can be less than 16 months. Seven of the children must be 16 months of age and walking unassisted.
  • Preschool and older (3 years and older ONLY) – 12:1

Licensed Child Care Center:

In Indiana, a child care center is defined as a non-residential building where at least one child receives child care from a provider while unattended by a parent, guardian, or custodian; for regular compensation; and for more than 4 hours but less than 24 hours in each of 10 consecutive days per year, excluding intervening Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

Director Qualifications:

All directors must be at least 21 years old, be present on-site for a minimum of 30 hours per week, and have a higher education degree from an accredited college or university. The director must have either a:

    • Bachelor degree in Early Childhood Education or Elementary Education with a Kindergarten endorsement
    • Bachelor degree in any field with 15 credit hours related to Early Childhood Education or a Child Development Associate credential (CDA)
    • Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a minimum of 3 years of experience in an early childhood program

A qualified director must be identified and on staff prior to opening the center. The child care licensing consultant will review all documents to determine eligibility.


Based on your building size.  Toddlers and older: 35 sq ft per child of usable indoor space. Infants: 50 sq ft per child of usable play space.


Unlicensed Registered Ministry:

In Indiana, an unlicensed registered ministry is defined as a child care operated by a church or religious ministry that is a religious organization exempt from federal income taxation under Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code.

For more information about the different rules and regulations of each program click here.

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