Starting a childcare setting

If you are looking to start a childcare setting, you need to be at least 21 years of age, comply with all the requirements in terms of infrastructure, health and safety, dealing with children and parents, staff and organisation, and apply for a licence from Opgroeien (Growing Up Agency), the agency to which Kind en Gezin (Child and Family Agency) belongs. In Flanders, you have the choice between providing:

  • family-based childcare: a small-scale form of childcare for maximum 8 children. These 8 childcare places also include school-age children up to and including primary school level and your own children if they are present in the setting.
  • group childcare: a childcare setting with several childcare workers for more than 8 children. You must organise the childcare in a space that is solely intended and used for this purpose during opening hours. Schoolchildren of up to and including primary school level must also be counted in the number of childcare places.

Applying for a licence for a childcare setting for babies and toddlers

In order to provide childcare for babies and toddlers on a professional basis and for payment, you require a licence. The earliest you can apply for the licence is 6 months ahead of your planned start date. In Flanders and Brussels (for Dutch-language childcare) you can apply for your licence digitally from Opgroeien, the agency to which Kind en Gezin belongs.

Before you can enter your application, you will need a business number. The licence application is identical for family-based and group childcare settings. However, for a group childcare setting there are a lot more requirements you need to comply with.

Licensing requirements for childcare settings for babies and toddlers

To apply for your licence, your childcare setting needs to comply with all the start-up conditions:

  • You need to be familiar with the operating conditions in the areas of
    • infrastructure
    • health and safety
    • dealing with children and parents
    • staff
    • organisation.
  • You will need a risk analysis along with an action plan of what to do in case of injuries, accidents, illness, infections and contaminations.
  • As the childcare organiser, you will need to put in place (educational) support in the areas of inclusive and flexible childcare and the organisation of the childcare.

From the first day you start providing childcare your setting will also need to comply with the operating conditions. View the summary of all the licensing requirements for your family-based or group childcare setting.

Starting an out-of-school childcare setting

Out-of-school childcare refers to childcare for pre-primary and primary school children after school hours and during the holidays. Here too, a distinction is made between:

  • family-based childcare (gezinsopvang): usually 1 childcare worker and maximum 8 childcare places
  • group childcare (groepsopvang): several childcare workers and at least 9 childcare places.

For further details, please contact Opgroeien, the agency to which Kind en Gezin belongs.

  • Last revision 22/07/2021
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