Apply for a Child Care Center License


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If  you would like to open up a child care center you will need to obtain a license for your facility. We require the owner and/or operator of a child care facility to complete a two-part consultation class prior to initial licensing. All first time directors/operators are also required to complete Part II of this consultation within 90 days of employment.


These are highlights of licensing requirements

Facility requirements:

  • Indoor play space of at least 35 square feet per child of usable child care space
  • Outdoor play space of at least 100 square feet of usable space per child for at least 1/2 of your indoor capacity
  • Outdoor play space must have at least 1,000 square feet regardless of indoor capacity
  • Outdoor play space shall have a safe and adequate fence or wall at a minimum of 4 feet in height
  • One sink and one toilet for every 15 children
  • Pass inspections and receive approval by:
    • Zoning
    • Building, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing inspectors from Hillsborough County or City of Tampa, Plant City, or Temple Terrace depending on where your facility is located
    • Fire inspector
    • Health inspector
  • Written verification of water and sewer or satisfactory well water verification, and septic tank capacity verification

Staffing requirements

  • You and all of your child care staff must have a background screening prior to working on site
    • This consists of Clearinghouse screening and a Child Abuse record search
  • Appropriate numbers of staff must be at the facility at all times with verification of completion of the Red Cross First Aid Child Care Course, or its equivalent and the Infant/Child CPR Course
  • Staff person responsible for planning and food preparation must complete the nutrition and food management courses
  • All child care personnel are initially required to take the following
    • Department of Children and Families 30-clock hour introductory child care course
    • 10-hour module based on developmentally appropriate practices for children o five-hour literacy course
    • Safe Sleep/Shaken Baby/Abusive Head Trauma training
    • Fire Extinguisher training
  • After the initial classes, all personnel are required to take 10 hours of annual in-service training every year thereafter
  • At least one staff person with a CDA credential or equivalent for every 20 children
  • The director of the center must have a Florida Director's Credential


Fees for consultation classes:

  • $60 for Parts I and II
  • $30 for Part II only

License fees:

Initial and renewals: $125 for the first 10 children and $2 for each additional child

How To

  1. Complete the Child Care Consultation Registration form, including the questions on the bottom of the page
    • Print clearly and complete the entire form
  2. Submit the form and appropriate fees made by check or money payable to Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners to:
    • Hillsborough County Child Care Licensing
      3152 Clay Mangum Lane
      Tampa, FL 33618
    • We must receive the applicable fee and completed application form in order for us to process your request and sign you up for the next available consultation classes
  3. Contact Hillsborough County Development Services at (813) 272-5600  to verify that you can operate a child care facility on your potential site
    • If the site is not appropriately zoned, you will need a zoning review for a change of use
  4. At the time of your initial inspection, submit the following:
    • Child Care Center Licensing Application
    • Legal/letter-size floor plan showing square footage of each room, designation of each room (infants, toddler, preschool, after-school), kitchen, office, sinks and toilets, etc.
    • A legal/letter-size outside playground design that shows total square footage
    • Two reference letters from persons who have known the applicant two years or more


What's Next

  1. When all requirements are met, we will issue you a license
  2. You may not take children into your care until you have received the license


(813) 264-3925

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