Opening a Child Care Center

Child Care Center

Opening a Child Care Center

Opening a child care center is an exciting career move which offers you the opportunity to provide appropriate care and guidance for other children in your community. The process takes time and planning is the key to success as you consider everything from policies and procedures to ordering supplies and setting up your child care environment.

Getting Started

What is child care licensing?

Child care licensing standards set the minimum acceptable health, safety, and program standards for the legal operation of child care programs. Licensed care, sometimes referred to as regulated care, is a baseline below which it is illegal to operate. It is not an indicator of quality care. More on quality programming can be found on our website. A few topics to consider are listed below as you begin your journey to open a child care center. For details on all of the topics, click here.

  • Finding a Location for your Business
  • Physical Space
  • Health
  • Fire Prevention & Safety
  • Accessibility

Here are other resources:

Zoning, Fire Department & Health Department

The first step in the zoning application process is to submit a request for a Pre-Application Meeting. A planner from the Land Use Review Division will meet with you to determine the issues and necessary zoning applications relating to your request.

For property within the city limits, contact Colorado Springs: 719-385-5905

COLORADO SPRINGS ZONING WEBSITE (Please note that all child care zoning information is under the heading of Home Day Care Permits. For the pre-application information, look under Daycare Home Size Restrictions.)

For property outside the city limits, contact El Paso County: 719-520-6300


Teller County: 719.687.3048

Elbert County: 303.621.3135

Fire Department:

Contact the local firehouse closest to the center location you are considering.

Health Department:

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment establishes and enforces sanitary standards for child care facilities to protect the health of children and staff in these facilities. Inspections are required every two years but may be conducted more frequently based on an assessment of risk. In El Paso County, the local Department of Public Health inspects child care facilities.


Application Process  for a Child Care Center

The Division of Early Care and Learning is developing administrative guides to accompany rules regulating child care facilities. The guide serves to clarify, and ensure the proper and consistent interpretation and implementation of, child care rules. The guide also provides the rationale behind rules and links to resources to help programs comply with the rules.

Available Guides

Available Guides (Spanish)

Visit the Colorado Office of Early Childhood website for information on the application process for opening a child care center. Their website is also available in Spanish.


The Institute for Racial Equity & Excellence (IREE) is responsible for providing licensing services in Arapahoe, El Paso, and Pueblo counties. IREE uses the “Community Based Licensing” model created by President and CEO Dr. Rosemarie Allen.

Community Based Licensing© focuses on providing licensing services that are culturally responsive using four Cs: Competence, Caring, and Compassion while ensuring Compliance.

Visit the IREE Website

In El Paso County, licensing questions may be directed to:
Brenda Beadling
Deputy Director of Licensing
Institute for Racial Equity & Excellence (IREE)

Licensing Specialists are responsible for child care locations within designated ZIP codes. For list by ZIP code, click here.

Additional resources can be found on our Licensing Resources page under Providers, Leaders & Teachers.

Early Childhood Education Scholarships

Alliance for Kids is here to help students navigate the path toward advancing their education and professional development goals. Scholarship applications are closed until May 2020. Please visit our Scholarships page for more information.

For assistance with opening a Family Child Care or a Child Care Center, contact:

Geanina Brown
Early Childhood Workforce Manager

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