Run Your Child Care

Child Care Ratios and Group Sizes

  • Ratios and group sizes are regulated by North Dakota state law - North Dakota child care providers must be licensed if they care for 6 or more children including their own.
  • Children receive higher quality care when they are in small groups and adult-to-child ratios meet recommendations or go beyond minimum licensing requirements with the addition of extra care staff.

How Many Children?
The number of children a provider can care for is determined by their license type, the size of their facility, and the ages of the children.

Family License Can care for up to 7 children, plus 2 additional school-age children. The family provider’s own children under age 12 must be included in the total. Keep in mind:
• Either the provider can care for up to 3 children under the age of 24 months with additional children over 24 months
• OR they can care for up to 4 children under the age of 24 months when not caring for additional older children.
• Two school-age children can be added to either scenario.
Group License Can care for up to 30 children, depending on local ordinance. The group child care provider’s own children under age 12 must be included in the total.
Total number of children who can attend at any given time is based on age and:
• Adult-to-child ratios
• Square footage
• Point levels
One adult can care for children totaling 1.34 points, but ratios must be met and a group of children may not contain more than 4 children under the age of 18 months per provider. An additional qualified care provider is added for every 1.0 points. Group providers can care for children according to the above guidelines or follow the licensing guidelines for Family Child Care.
Center License Can care for 19 or more children. The total number of children who can attend at any given time is based on age and:
• Adult-to-child ratios
• Square footage
• Point levels
• Maximum group size
One adult can care for children totaling 1.34 points, but ratios and maximum group size must also be met.

Point System for Child Care Groups and Centers

Age of Children Point Level
0 thru 17 months .25 Points
18 thru 35 months .20 Points
3 years .14 Points
4 years .10 points
5 years .08 points
6 to 12 years .05 Points

Adult-to-Child Ratio & Group Size for Child Care Center Class Rooms
* If mixed ages are grouped in the classroom, group size must be consistent with the age of the majority of the children. EXCEPTION: If children under 18 months of age are part of the mixed age group, the group size for their age group must be maintained.

Age of Children Adult to Child Ratio Max Group Size of Same Ages*
0 thru 17 months 1:4 10
18 thru 35 months 1:5 15
3 years 1:7 20
4 years 1:10 25
5 years 1:12 30
6 to 12 years 1:20 40