Federal law requires that states have policies in place to protect the health and safety of children in child care in three areas: the prevention and control of infectious diseases, building and physical premise safety, and health and safety training appropriate to the program setting.
These federal requirements are general and the standards that states set for licensing child care centers and family child care homes vary greatly. Some of the decisions left up to individual states include:
What is licensed child care?
Who can and who must obtain a license to care for children?
What training do they need?
How many children can a provider care for?
What kind of environment must a child care program provide?
The rules on who must obtain a license, what training they need to have, how many children they can care for and what kind of environment they must provide differ by state. In this section, you will find information about what licensed means, as well as tables that show how your state's child care rules compare with the rest of the country.