Frequently Asked Questions


What is a family child care provider?

Family child care providers work in their own homes, caring for the children of other working parents, as well as, in some cases, their own children.

Why should I consider starting a home-based child care business?

As a family child care provider, you can make a living and a tremendous difference in the lives of the children in your care. Owning a child care business offers many advantages. You earn income while spending time with your own children. Many of your business expenses may be tax deductible. You can also enjoy the satisfaction of providing an essential service to the community.

What do I need to start my business?

Obtaining a home child care permit is the first step towards becoming a family child care provider in Fairfax County. With a Fairfax County permit, you will be allowed to care for up to five children in addition to your own.

Can I make a living as a home child care provider?

Given the high costs of working in the Washington D.C. area (commuting, child care costs, work wardrobe) and the generous tax benefits for home-based businesses, many providers find home-based child care to be a financially rewarding career option.

What sort of support can I expect from the Office for Children?

The Fairfax County Office for Children is committed to the success of your home child care business. We offer step-by-step guidance throughout the permit process. Once you receive your permit, you will be assigned a child care specialist, who will be available to answer your questions and provide ongoing technical assistance.

How long does it take to obtain a county permit?

The permit process takes approximately six to eight weeks from the time we receive your completed permit application.

How can I let parents know about my business?

You can market your program to parents who use the child care search tool to look for child care. The Office for Children also provides training in marketing to help you get your business off to a good start.

What types of child care are needed in my area?

You can design a child care business to suit your experience or preference. There are many types of home-based child care businesses needed, including:

  • After-school programs for elementary and middle school-age children;
  • Part-time or part-week schedules;
  • Infant care or traditional full-day child care for mixed ages;

How can I find out more about family child care?

Register for the Office for Children workshop about starting a family child care business.

Do I need to wait until I have all my documents for the tuberculosis test, first aid and CPR certifications, pet rabies immunizations, and children’s immunizations before I turn in my permit application?

No. Complete your application and send it to the Office for Children. We can start working on the application while you are getting the other documents.

Next Steps

Apply for a Family Child Care Permit


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