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License-Exempt Child Care Centers

Some child care programs do not need a license. If you want to care for children from only one family in addition to your own, you do not need a license. Some programs that serve groups of children, such as after-school programs, also do not need a license. However, these programs must follow certain rules.

Types of license-exempt child care centers:

  • Public recreation programs for school-age children for under 16 hours per week, and for a total of 12 weeks for less;
  • Public recreation programs for younger children for 12 hours per week or less and 12 weeks or less in duration;
  • Public and private schools that operate a program before and/or after school for school-age children that is offered and operated by the school and run by qualified school staff;
  • School parenting programs operated by a public school district or an organization under contract with a public school district;
  • Programs offering temporary child care services to parents and guardians on the same premises as the child care program and the child care program is not a ski facility, shopping mall, or department store;
  • Programs that provide instructional activities in a classroom setting for school-age children when school is not in session and for less than 15 days for younger children;
  • Program that operates only one day per week for no more than four hours on that day;
  • Program administered by the Department of Corrections meeting the requirements in Title 22;
  • Centers on tribal, military, or school sites that offer child care services but are not licensed through Community Care Licensing.

The most common license-exempt school-age programs include:

  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers
  • After-School Education and Safety Programs (ASES)
  • License-exempt Latch-key programs contracting with the California Department of Education on school sites
  • Boys and Girls Clubs
  • License-exempt YMCA programs
  • License-exempt Park and Recreation programs
  • License-exempt programs runs through the city/town
  • Other license-exempt private, for- and non-profit fee based programs


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Last updated on February 24, 2021
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