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Launching Your Successful Daycare in Arizona

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At, our articles are penned by a dynamic team of seasoned experts who've spent years in the trenches with kids and daycare center owners. Imagine a mix of laughter, learning, and aha moments distilled into every article! From playful tips for early childhood education to navigating the wild ride of daycare provider life, we're your go-to source for reliable info with a side of fun.

Starting a daycare in Arizona requires careful planning and adherence to state regulations. Whether you are embarking on the journey of in-home childcare or managing a large preschool and daycare facility, it’s crucial to create a solid foundation for your operations.

Begin by researching and understanding the licensing requirements set by the Arizona Department of Health Services and other relevant authorities. Compliance with these regulations ensures the safety and well-being of the children under your care. Once you have a clear understanding of the legal framework, consider the location of your daycare center. Accessibility, safety, and proximity to residential areas are essential factors to consider. When it comes to managing the daily operations, leveraging tools like SimplySafeChild’s childcare management software can be a game-changer.

This software offers seamless management of alerts, payments, and automation, providing a user-friendly platform to streamline your daycare’s administrative tasks. By reducing the need for additional staff, the software makes it easier to run your daycare smoothly, regardless of its size. Efficient management is key to creating a positive and nurturing environment for the children and ensuring the success and sustainability of your daycare in the vibrant state of Arizona.

As always, use as a resource for any and all of your daycare needs.

As per state regulations, CHILD CARE is the provision of regular care, supervision, and guidance to a child or children without the presence of a parent, guardian, or custodian. This takes place for durations shorter than twenty-four hours per day, in a location other than the child’s or children’s own home or homes.

A child care facility is:

  • defined as any establishment where child care is consistently offered for compensation, catering to five or more children.

“Compensation” means:

  • Money or other consideration, including goods, services, vouchers, time, government or public expenditures, government or public funding, or another benefit, that is received as payment.

Daycare in Arizona

Bureau of Child Care Licensing (BCCL)

Established to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of children in child care facilities.

Responsible for:

  • The development of adequate standards to address the physical space, equipment, programs and services;
  • Verifying the qualifications of applicants and facility personnel.
  • Conducting compliance inspections;
  • Providing technical assistance as needed;
  • Providing training and resources;
  • Investigating complaints for licensed and unlicensed activities.

Before you apply for a license.

If the property/location where you have chosen to operate a child care center is located within ¼ mile of any vacant or agricultural land, you must:

  • Obtain the names and addresses of land owners’ and lessee(s) for any vacant and agricultural within a ¼ mile of the facility.
  • Find out if a buffer zone agreement is necessary or already exists.

If an agreement is necessary

  • Create an agreement with the land owners’ and lessees regarding a Buffer Zone for pesticide application to the land
  • Record the agreement at the appropriate office (country recorder).
  • Complete the Agricultural Land Notification Form in the license application packet.
  • Submit in a copy of the Buffer Zone agreement, along with the Agricultural Land Notification Form, in the license application packet.

If the property is located on unincorporated land, you must:

  • Ensure that emergency services are available and accessible to the address location.

If the property is NOT located in a public school, you must:

  • Contact the local zoning office to obtain the proper permit, if applicable; licenses are attached to a specific address.

If you plan to prepare and serve food from a kitchen in your facility, you must:

  • Contact your local Country Health Department for a kitchen plan review.

Who can sign the application:

  • If the applicant is an individual, the individual.
  • If the applicant or licensee is a business organization, a designated agent (see A.R.S. § 36-889(D)).
  • If the applicant is a public school, an individual designated in writing as signatory.
  • If the applicant is a charter school, the person approved to operate the charter school.
  • If the applicant is a governmental agency, the individual in the senior leadership position or an individual designated in writing by that individual.

The Application Signatory(ies) must:

  • Possess a valid level one fingerprint clearance card.

If not:

Applying for a Child Care License

In order to provide child care for 5 or more children in Arizona, you must apply for a license with the Department of Health Services Bureau of Child Care Licensing.

Application contents:

  • Before you Apply Information Sheet
  • Initial Application
  • Initial Fee Application
  • Controlling Persons Information
  • Guidelines for Fingerprint Registration
  • Criminal History Affidavit
  • Statement of Citizenship and Alien Status
  • Child Care Physical Plant Evaluation
  • Public School Building Information form
  • Agricultural Land Notification form
  • New Facility Readiness Self-Checklist

You need to have the following documents to complete the Applications


(Signatory, designated agent)

  • Passport, birth certificate, naturalization documents or documentation of legal resident alien status
  • Copy of front and back of Fingerprint Clearance Card
  • Certificate of Completion verifying completion of Department’s orientation/training


  • Articles of Incorporation, Partnership, Limited Liability (if applicable)
  • Controlling Persons Information (if applicable)
  • Name and address of each board member (if applicable)
  • Name and address of each board officer (if applicable)
  • Current Corporation Commission Certificate of Good Standing/Registration (within 3 months) (if applicable)

Daycare in Arizona

The application fee is based on the licensed capacity:

  • “Licensed capacity” means the maximum number of enrolled children for whom a licensee is authorized by the Department to provide child care services in a facility or part of a facility at any given time.

Annual Licensed capacity fees:

 5-10 licensed capacity $300
11-59 licensed capacity $1330
60+ licensed capacity $2575

Once you have submitted the Child Care License Application:

You will be assigned a State Compliance Officer who will review your application

A State Compliance Officer is:

  • Assigned to each facility to monitor compliance with departmental rules and regulations.
  • Your direct contact for specific questions regarding your center.
  • Assigned to each facility to regulate compliance with departmental rules and regulations.
  • The person who will conduct inspections and investigations at the child care facility

You will receive a notice through the Licensing Portal which will indicate whether your application is complete or incomplete.

If incomplete

  • This letter will list items missing and instructions to follow for completion

If complete

  • An inspection date will be determined between you and your State Compliance Officer.

Access the Application

  • In order to provide child care for 5 or more children in Arizona, you must apply for a license with the Department of Health Services.
  • Please use the ADHS Child Care Facility Licensing Portal to complete the application and begin your licensing journey.
  • Review the User Agreement carefully, as it contains information regarding the documentation needed for the application process.
  • Once the Department determines that the applicant is in substantial compliance with regulatory requirements, the Department will issue an initial license.
  • For instructions and guidance using the Portal, including registration as a new user, see the LMS Training Page, the Child Care Provider Training Guide, as well as several helpful videos.

Childcare centers

Provider requirements

For childcare centers, the department requires facility directors to fulfill one of four educational requirements:

  • At least 24 months of childcare experience, a high school diploma or equivalent, and:
    • Six credit hours or more in early childhood, child development, or a closely-related field from an accredited college or university
    • At least 60 actual hours of instruction, provided in conferences, seminars, lectures, or workshops, in early childhood, child development, or a closely-related field, and an additional 12 hours of instruction in program administration, planning, development, or management
  • At least 18 months of childcare experience and:
    • An NAC, CDA, or CCP credential; or
    • At least 24 credit hours from an accredited college or university, including at least six credit hours in early childhood, child development, or a closely-related field
  • At least six months of childcare experience and an associate degree from an accredited college or university in early childhood, child development, or a closely-related field; or
  • At least three months of childcare experience and a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in early childhood, child development, or a closely-related field

Daycare in Arizona

Ratio requirements

The requirements for staff-to-children ratios in childcare centers are strict. When providing childcare services to enrolled children, the following ratios must be maintained:

  • Infants: One staff member for five children (1:5) or two staff members for 11 children (2:11)
  • 1-year-old children: One staff member for six children (1:6) or two staff members for 13 children (2:13)
  • 2-year-old children: One staff member for eight children (1:8)
  • 3-year-old children: One staff member for 13 children (1:13)
  • 4-year-old children: One staff member for 15 children (1:15)
  • 5-year-old children (not school age): One staff member for 20 children (1:20)
  • School-age-children: One staff member for 20 children (1:20)

Steps To Apply For a License:

  • You must submit the application with all required documents based on the location, fee, and applicant/ownership personnel. The application will be needed to be sent to the Bureau of Child Care Licensing at 150 N 18th Ave., Suite 400 Phoenix, AZ 85007.
  • A Licensing Surveyor will be assigned once the application starts being processed. They are responsible for monitoring the facility to ensure they follow all departmental rules and regulations. They will also help answer any queries put forward by the applicant.
  • The Licensing Surveyor will provide an online link to completing the training evaluation. This needs to be passed to further process the application.

Licensing Surveyor

To ensure a just and consistent method of child care facility assessment, a standard evaluation instrument is used to ensure compliance with rules and regulations. All facilities are visited periodically throughout the year for evaluations. A team member/ license surveyor will make at least two unannounced visits for inspection to the childcare provider’s home center during its operational hours. Four center-based childcare facilities have at least one unannounced visit annually during its hours of operation.

The licensing surveyor is available Monday to Thursday from 8 am to 5 pm regarding any questions with regards to licenses and regulations. They can be contacted at Phoenix Office (602) 364-2539 or Tucson Office (520)-628-6541.

Contact Information

Department of Public Safety

Applicant Clearance Card Team

P.O. Box 18390

Phoenix, AZ 85005


To best market your daycare and utilize coming tools such as all-in-one waitlist management, payment processing, and single scan solutions for parent updates, sign up at

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