What types of homes can qualify for family child care?

Personal residence means a one- or two-family dwelling or a single dwelling unit in a multiple dwelling classified for permanent occupancy under the New York State Building Code, except that a community residence shall not be considered a residence for purposes of the child care regulations.

A dwelling unit must be occupied or used as living space to be used for family or group family day care and considered a residence for purposes of the child care regulations. To see exceptions, visit Part 413. Child Day Care Definitions, Enforcement and Hearings.

What are the requirements for the home?

  • Lighting, heating and ventilation: Rooms that will be used by the children must be well-lighted and well-ventilated. Heating, ventilating and lighting equipment must be adequate for the protection of the health of the children
  • Sufficient light when children are sleeping: When care is provided, there must be sufficient light in the rooms where children are sleeping to allow supervision of and the safe movement of the children.
  • Temperature: A temperature of at least 68° degrees Fahrenheit must be maintained in all rooms to be occupied by children.
  • Bedding and crib: A firm clean crib, cot, bed or washable padded mat of age-appropriate size and construction must be provided for all children requiring a rest period. All cribs must be in compliance with the safety standards established by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Stackable cribs are prohibited.
  • Toxic paints: Toxic paints or finishes must not be used on room surfaces, furniture or any other equipment, materials or furnishings which may be used by children or are within their reach. Peeling or damaged paint or plaster must be repaired.
  • Concrete floors must be covered: Concrete floors in areas identified as program space must be covered with appropriate material.
  • Adequate indoor space: The home must have adequate indoor space for the comfort of the children and to accommodate a variety of activities for the number of children in care.
  • Outdoor space: Each home must have access to outdoor space which is adequate for active play. Outdoor space may include public parks, school yards, or public play areas. A written plan or diagram outlining how children will safely travel to and from this location must be developed and approved by the Office.
  • Bathroom and toilets: A bathroom not more than one floor level away from the program area must be accessible to children. All toilets and potty chairs must be located in rooms separate from those used for cooking, playing, sleeping or eating.
  • Fire and Building Code of New York State: All residences used for family child care homes must remain in compliance with the applicable provisions of the Fire and Building Code of New York State, or other applicable fire and building codes when the Fire and Building Code of New York State is not applicable.
  • The house or building number of the child care program shall be conspicuously displayed and visible from the street. Fire protection requirements must be met (evacuation drills, smoke detector on each floor, multi-purpose fire extinguishers, evacuation windows, stairway requirements, kerosene and gasoline may not be stored in the habitable areas, portable electric heaters or heating devices may not be used in room accessible to children)
  • Fire protection requirements must be met (evacuation drills, smoke detector on each floor, multi-purpose fire extinguishers, evacuation windows, stairway requirements, kerosene and gasoline may not be stored in the habitable areas, portable electric heaters or heating devices may not be used in room accessible to children)
  • Safety and emergency evacuation diagram plan must be submitted.
  • Animals and pets: Any pet or animal kept indoors or outdoors at the family day care home must present no evidence of disease or parasite and pose no threat. All required vaccines must be current. The record of vaccines and pet license (for pets that require a license) must be available to the OCFS when request.
  • Pools and spas: The use of non-public and residential pools is prohibited except in those instances where the program can demonstrate the ability to operate and adequately supervise the use of a non-public or residential pool in a clean, safe and sanitary manner. Public swimming pools and adjacent areas used by the children must be constructed, maintained, staffed and used in accordance with the New York State Sanitary Code, and in such a manner as will safeguard the lives and health of children.
  • Communication: a working telephone must remain in a designated visible location, must have a ringtone that remains audible, and all caregivers must be able to operate the phone. 911 and the poison control phone number must be posted conspicuously on or next to the telephone.
  • Materials and play equipment guidelines must be followed.
  • Child care program and nutrition requirements must be followed.

What if I live in a rental property? Can my landlord stop me from opening my family child care?

It’s possible your landlord may say that your lease prevents you from using your home for business. However in the State of New York, family child care programs are not considered a “business use” of a residential property. This means your landlord can’t prohibit you from using your home for your child care.

See the New York State Department of State, Office of General Counsel on the Regulation of Day Care Facilities for more.


Starting your own in-home child care program? This post is a part of our New York State series on family child care licensing. More on licensing in New York:

New York State Family Child Care Licensing: An Overview
Types of Licenses
The Licensing Process
License Eligibility
Training Requirements for Licensing

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