Please note that this information pertains mostly to additional licensing needed to start a daycare in Iowa. If you haven’t already, please review the Start a Business Guide for additional steps you may need to take to start your daycare.

In today’s world, child care providers are the essential workforce. By choosing child care as a profession you have the opportunity to work in a child care center, run your own child care business and help others run their own child care business. You may be asking how you get started? It’s easy! Check out below.

Iowa Child Care Resource and Referral is funded by the Iowa Department of Human Services through the Child Care Development Fund to help child care providers to get started and maintain their child care career!

It is imperative to provide a strong, well rounded child care workforce because after all child care providers are the workforce behind the workforce!

In-Home Daycare

  • Contact the CCR&R Recruitment & Retention Specialist in your area.
    • CCR&R will guide you through the Department of Human Services (DHS) application process
  • Contact CCR&R to request a provider registration packet.
  • In order to accept Child Care Assistance (CCA) payments, nonregistered Child Care Homes (CCHA) and registered Child Development Homes (CDH) providers must complete the Department of Human Services (DHS) application process.
  • Create your account in Iowa’s Early Childhood and School Age Professional Workforce Registry (i-PoWeR). i-PoWeR is an online tool where child care professionals can locate and enroll for approved Department of Human Services (DHS) professional development.
  • Complete required training.
  • Complete Background Checks and Fingerprinting (forms included in your registration packet).
  • Complete the registration packet with a CCR&R Child Care Consultant.
  • Connect with a CCR&R Child Care consultant to help you prepare your home for a Department of Human Services (DHS) pre-inspection
  • Pre-Inspection of your home by the Department of Human Services (DHS).
  • Correct any pre-inspection issues.
  • Continue to work with a CCR&R Child Care Consultant.

Get the printable version of the steps of the DHS Application Process.

Daycare Center

  • Obtain information regarding the need for a Child Care Center (CCC) in the community
    • CCR&R can help with providing statistical data and information regarding child care availability and need in your area
  • Contact a CCR&R Recruitment & Retention Specialist in your area
    • CCR&R will guide you through the process of starting a business and support you along the way
  • Find a site for the Child Care Center (CCC) and determine if any renovations need to be done OR create a building plan if building a new center
    • Do not purchase or sign a lease on the site until steps 4-6 are completed
  • Have an inspection done by the Iowa State Fire Marshal
  • Obtain city zoning approval for child care at the site
  • Contact the Department of Human Services (DHS) for an application for licensed providers and send in when completed
    • Visit their website to see forms, including the checklist of items to be submitted for initial licensure
    • View the Department of Human Services (DHS) Consultant Map for Licensing Consultant contact information
  • Prepare the center for a Department of Human Services (DHS) inspection, hire and train staff, purchase supplies, prepare files for children/staff, prepare policies and procedures, etc.
  • Continue to work with a CCR&R Child Care Consultant

Go to to learn more about what it takes to start a career in child care today!

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NOTICE: The information included on this website is to be used only as a guide. It is not intended to cover all provisions of the law or every taxpayer's specific circumstances.


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