How to Become a Childminder

A childminder is paid to look after children under the age of eight-years old for at least two hours a day in the childminder’s own home.

Childminders must be 18 or over and must register with Ofsted or a childminder agency.


There are a number of steps to go through before applying to register as a childminder. The first is to contact your local authority and/or Family Information Service (FIS). Click here to find out about the next pre-registration briefing near you. The FIS will also be able to inform you about the introductory training your require.

In addition, you must complete a 12-hour paediatric first-aid course that you need to update every three years. Morton Michel insurance policyholders receive 15% discount on first aid training run by the Bristish Red Cross. Click here to find out more.


There are two registers; the Early Years Register if you look after children aged five and under and the Childcare Register if you look after children aged five to seven. If you want to look after children of all ages, then you must apply to both registers.

If you are going to join the Early Years Register you must have read the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework which can be found here, and ensure that you are able to meet all its requirements. You can find out more about registration here.

There are some providers who are exempt from registration. You can learn more here.

Even if you are exempt, you can join the register voluntarily and receive a certificate to prove this as this will help the parents of the children you look after with childcare costs.

If you would like to register with a childminder agency, you should contact your local Family Information Service to find out if there is one in your area. Find your local FIS here.

The rules are different for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland you must register with Care Inspectorate if you are looking after children under 16 years old. Read more here.

In Wales, you must register with the Care & Social Services Inspectorate Wales if you are looking after children younger than eight years old in your own home for two or more hours a day. Find more information by clicking here.

In Northern Ireland you must contact your local Health & Social Care Trust to apply to register to look after children aged under 12 for more than two hours a day in your own home. Find out more here.

Operating as a childminder without proper registration exposes you to prosecution and an unlimited fine or prison sentence.

Disclosure checks

In England, childminders must undergo a Disclosure & Barring Service check if they are applying to register as a childminder. Click here to find out how to apply. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland similar checks are carried out by the relevant authorities once your application is received.

Health declaration

If you are seeking to join the Early Years Register, you must also fill in the Health declaration booklet.

Application process summary

1. Find your local Family Information Service. Staff there can help you with your application and all you need to know about pre-registration briefings and training.

2. You need a Government Gateway account to apply online which you can easily set up by clicking here, then you can make your application online by clicking here.

3. Once you have applied and if you are in England, apply for your DBS check through Ofsted by clicking here. Those aged 16 or over living or working with you at your childminding premises also need to be checked by DBS.

You should also join the DBS update service. You need to join 19 days after receiving your first certificate. You need to agree to Ofsted checking your DBS certificate at least six-monthly.

4. If you are applying as a childminder on the Early Years Register, you need to complete and submit your health declaration booklet.

5. Pay your fee. You need to pay a fee to register as a childminder. Make this payment by clicking here.

After application

Once your application has been submitted, your references will be checked and any necessary reviews carried out with the DBS, your GP and your local council including checks on those living or working with you at the childminding premises. If you are applying for the Early Years Register, the premises you are applying for will also be checked.

Registration visit

You will get a registration visit from an Ofsted inspector only if you have applied to the Early Years register. You can prepare for this by reading the government’s guide here.

Successful application

Once your application is approved you will receive a certificate of registration and details of your registration are published on the Ofsted website. You must continue to meet the registration standards for the whole time you work as a childminder and you must pay your annual fee. You must also keep Ofsted up to date by telling them of any changes in advance such as change of address, the other adults living on the childminding premises or working with you, changes to your working hours. It is an offence if you do not tell Ofsted within 14 days of a change happening. The full details of changes to report are in the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework here. The whole setting up process can take up to six months. Registration takes approximately 12 weeks.

What else do i need?

All childminders need public liability insurance.

If you are going to drive your minded children in your car, you need class 1 business insurance.

In addition to compliance with the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework, you must also comply with the following:

Health and Safety
Food Hygiene
Local Planning Laws

How much will it cost to set up as a childminder?

Start-up grants are available for childminders in England. You can find out more here. You could get a £500 grant or, if you are setting up as a new childminder to care for children with disabilities, a £1,000 grant. 

The DBS check costs £44 for person – remember you need to pay for each person over 16 years old who lives or works at your childminding premises.

To register on the Early Years register costs £35. It costs £103 to register on the Childcare Register, but only £35 for both registers.

Costs vary for the 12-month paediatric first aid course, but the British Red Cross course costs £105, or £89.25 if you are a Morton Michel Insurance policyholder.

Your doctor is entitled to charge you up to £80 for a health check.

There is not usually any charge from your local authority for the pre-registration briefing, but costs for local-authority approved introductory training vary considerably and some local authorities offer a course themselves for as little as £50 while private providers can charge over £300. Your local authority will give you details at the pre-registration briefing.

Morton Michel childminder insurance costs from £59.50 depending on which part of the UK you operate in and includes many extra benefits and discounts such as free downloads and discounted days out.

Remember there are also other costs associated with setting up such as fitting stair gates, buying toys and other resources or items such as a fire-extinguisher to ensure you are compliant with all regulations.