Start up Information


We are glad you are interested in exploring the option of opening an early care and education program in Moore County!

If you are caring for more than two children who aren't related to you for more than four hours a day, you might need to be licensed through the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE).

If you do not meet any of the exemption scenarios provided below, then you need to apply for a license. The exemptions are:

  • Recreational programs operated for less than four consecutive months in a year;
  • Specialized activities or instruction such as athletics, dance, art, or organized clubs for children, such as scouts, 4-H, or boys and girls clubs;
  • Drop-in or short-term care provided while parents participate in activities that are not employment related and where the parents are easily accessible, such as provided at health spas, resort hotels, or churches;
  • Public schools (and nonpublic schools that are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools);
  • Cooperative arrangements among parents to provide care for their own children as a convenience rather than for employment;
  • Any child care program or arrangement consisting of two or more separate components, each of which operates for four hours or less per day with different children attending each component.

How Do I Get Licensed?

Determine the kind of child care program you want to offer.

If you want to provide care in your home for a maximum of five preschool children, or up to eight children if at least three are school-aged, then you need to follow the Family Child Care Home application process.

If you want to provide care for more than five preschool children, then you need to follow the Child Care Center application process. The number of children you can care for is based upon indoor and outdoor square footage, completed building fire and sanitation inspections and any local zoning ordinances

For more information, contact Leslie Carson, our Child Care Technical Assistance Practitioner, at 910.949.4045.  She can discuss the licensing process with you by phone and visit any potential building sites that you are considering to provide feedback on feasibility.