Child Care Licensing


COVID-19 Update 03/23 10:00am

COVID-19 update regarding DHS licensing

March 20, 2020

Governor/DHS Suspending Certain Licensing Regulations

The DHS Licensing Division would like to thank you for your commitment to Minnesotans in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. On a typical day, the services you provide are critical to the health and safety of residents across the state and keep Minnesota’s economy moving. In this environment, they are more important than ever. Thank you for the critical role you play in our community.

Today Gov. Tim Walz, issued Executive Order 20-12 and Human Service Commissioner Jodi Harpstead is suspending certain licensing requirements and activities to allow greater flexibility in these challenging times. This will give providers the necessary regulatory flexibility to comply with recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by modifying certain licensing requirements and ensuring the best interests of your clients and communities are met.

To assure the DHS Licensing is not interfering with the work providers are doing to care for their clients or service recipients during this pandemic, the Department of Human Services is suspending or modifying most licensing enforcement activity until May 1, 2020, as follows:

  • Suspending routine licensing and certification reviews. (under 245A, 245H.05)
  • Continuing to respond to critical incidents involving high risk of harm to clients or allegation of abuse and neglect — and prioritizing on-site visits as needed on a case-by-case basis. In addition, DHS Licensing staff, county licensing staff and private licensing agencies will communicate with and provide technical assistance to providers to the greatest extent possible, using remote technologies that support social distancing and community mitigation.
  • Conducting on a case-by-case basis inspections for licensing applications, pre-licensure visits and change of premises inspections (under 245A.04). This is in order to prioritize enabling programs to provide additional capacity. DHS Licensing staff, county licensing staff and private licensing agencies will conduct these activities to the greatest extent possible using remote technologies that support social distancing and community mitigation.
  • Suspending payment of outstanding fines previously ordered (under 245A.07)
  • Suspending the issuance of fix-it tickets for licensed family child care providers and licensed child care centers (under 245A.065) and providing technical assistance
  • Suspending the issuance of correction orders (under 245A.06) and providing technical assistance
  • Suspending the issuance of fines under 245A.07
  • Suspending the issuance of licensing actions other than Temporary Immediate Suspensions under 245A.07, subdivision 2 unless necessary to enforce pandemic or licensing regulations as necessary to enforce the health and safety of those receiving care or services.
  • Automatically extending for three months licenses for family child care, child and adult foster care and community residential settings that are set to expire during March, April or May 2020; any training, re-licensing or documentation requirements are extended. (245A.04, 245A.16 )
  • Extending training timelines for existing staff and license holders that expire during the declared peacetime emergency and cannot be met. Further direction on orientation and training will be coming.

County licensing agencies and private placing agencies are expected to comply with these suspensions or modifications of licensing activities. (245A.16)

The Department will provide additional guidance by March 27, 2020, to license holders on COVID-19 modifications to the background study process .

Any additional suspensions or modifications to licensing requirements will be specific to each type of service provided and will be communicated to programs electronically and will be posted on the DHS COVID-19 and the Licensing website.


Providers Should Follow MDH and CDC Guidance

Providers should first and foremost follow the guidance provided by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) available at the resources listed below. If a DHS requirement seems to conflict with this guidance, follow the MDH and CDC guidance:


COVID-19 Hotlines

  • Health questions: 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903 (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
  • Statewide hotline for child care providers only: 1-888-234-1268 (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.)


Additional information

  • Child care providers, please also see the Child Care Update distributed by the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet earlier today.
  • For COVID-19 information related to DHS programs, vist


Thank you again for the critical services you provide.

DHS Licensing Division

COVID-19 Update: What You need to Know About Child Care

We recognize the heart behind the many offers circulating on social media in regards to offering up child care. With the Governor’s decision to close schools in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, parents and families are faced with decisions about how to care for their children along with having to balance working and needing to find care for their children. We support parents in making safe child care arrangements during this uncertain time and recognize that family, friends and neighbors may be stepping in to help care for children.  It is important to know there is no such thing as an “emergency child care license” and generally speaking you be should be licensed in order to care for multiple unrelated children on an ongoing  basis. Scott County Licensing takes the health and safety of children seriously. There are approximately 300 licensed family child care programs in Scott County. These programs are led by licensed family child care professionals who have met the licensing requirements to care for children and who are prepared to help stand in the gap with families during this time.

 For best practices regarding COVID-19, see the Summary of COVID-19 Guidance for Child Care Settings from the MN Dept. of Health.

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: How do I find child care?

A: The following resources might be helpful to you as you look for care for your children:

Scott County Licensed Family Child Care Association
Think Small - Searching for Child Care
Parent Aware

Additionally, your company’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) may have other helpful resources.


Q: Where do I find the information in regards to the Governor’s Emergency Executive Order?

A: You can read Governor Walz's Emergency Executive Order here.


Q: If I want to become licensed to provide family child care, what do I need to do?

A: Information about the licensing process is on the Scott County website at this link.

We also invite you to contact us at 952-445-7751 or email us at


Q: If I am a licensed family child care provider, will I be “shut down” because of COVID-19?

A: While the Family Child Care Rule makes some provision for providers following pandemic planning (245A.04, Subd. 15), there is no indication that would be the case at this time.

The Governor has recognized the importance of child care, especially for health care professionals and staff; first responders; firefighters; correctional services; essential court personnel; MN State Veterans Home staff; state and local public health agency employees; MNsure Navigators; county financial/eligibility workers; county case managers; or any county staff in emergency management or health and human services.

For best practices regarding COVID-19, see the Summary of COVID-19 Guidance for Child Care Settings from the MN Dept. of Health.


Q: If I am a licensed family child care provider, may I apply for a variance to help accommodate children/families during this time?

A: Requests for variances are handled on a case-by-case basis. We invite you to contact your Licensor or the coverage worker at 952-445-7751.


Q: What are the benefits of using a licensed program instead of a friend who is offering to care for a few children while the schools are closed?

A: Licensed family child care programs have demonstrated skills and training around key areas that are important to keep children healthy and safe. Licensed providers are trained in effective sanitation practices, which will help you and your family stay healthy. Each provider and all family members/individuals affiliated with their programs and homes have had background checks to ensure safety. Providers and associated caregivers are trained in First Aid, CPR, Supervision, Child Growth and Development/Behavior Guidance, Health & Safety, and more. Many participate in food programs, which ensure the children in their care are fed healthy and nutritious meals and snacks during the day. They are professionals who have Child Care Emergency Plans in place to help deal with the unexpected, as well as program plans to be prepared for the everyday with children.


If you have any questions or concerns, we invite you to contact Scott County Licensing at 952-445-7751 or

Last Updated: 3/16/2020 9:20 AM

The Scott County Child Care Licensing Unit is here to serve as your resource for learning how to locate licensed child care providers or how to become a licensed child care provider.

We strive to ensure that children are cared for in quality, safe, nurturing and culturally responsive settings and, to help parents find a licensed provider to entrust the care of their children.

  • Answer questions regarding licensed child care
  • Provide public information when you are looking for child care provider; including years of experience, type of license, etc.
  • Hold regular free orientation sessions to anyone interested in becoming licensed
  • Provide information regarding required training courses and offer select training courses
  • Provide ongoing mentoring to the providers
  • Conduct annual home visits
  • Investigate licensing complaints
  • Conduct annual background studies on the providers, household members, and/or anyone helping, substituting or assisting with the child care program
Contact Us
For more information or to speak with someone in Child Care Licensing, please call 952-445-7751 and ask to speak with a child care licensing coverage worker.