Start a Child Care Center

Child care centers that offer safe, healthy, responsive and developmentally stimulating programs for young children fill an important need for working parents in Fairfax County. Before starting a child care center, it is importance to become familiar with current standards and requirements. Several state and county agencies require licenses and permits at various phases of start-up of a center-based program. These regulations apply to programs serving 13 or more children.

Individuals and groups beginning this process for the first time should begin by carefully reviewing the regulations of the state’s Department of Social Services. Call the regional office at 703-934-1505 and request a copy of Minimum Standards for Licensed Child Care Centers. In addition, call the Fairfax County Health Department at 703-246-2205 to obtain a copy of the Fairfax County Child Care Code, Chapter 30. Both standards should be thoroughly reviewed prior to selecting a site or designing the space.

Several Divisions within the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environment Services will also require approval of permits for zoning, building design and construction. Asking about their requirements early in the planning process will save valuable time and expenses.

Planning and Zoning, Zoning Permits
Building Plan Review


The Office for Children does not license or regulate centers, but offers valuable information and training:

Training courses for directors and center staff.

Assistance in marketing a child care business through listings on the Child Care Central online search.

Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
Technical Questions: Web Administrator

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