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More Than a Sitter

What to know before starting a child-care business

This story appears in the September 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Q: Are there legal differences between baby-sitting, child care and day care? For which one would I not need a license?

A: Baby-sitters, who care for children in the children's homes, aren't licensed in any state. Child care refers to care in a facility other than a child's home and often requires licensing. Day-care centers are on commercial property, while family day care is provided in the caregiver's home. Each state defines its own parameters when licensing is required. Generally, if you intend to care for more than three children other than your own, you must be licensed.

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