2011 Census Bureau Data (Released April 2013)
Improving access to affordable, quality child care is one of Child Care Aware® of America's top goals. Although child care is a necessity to enable parents to work, the high price of child care in every community strains household budgets and forces parents to make compromises about the quality and safety of care they choose for their children.
Use the resources below to help better understand what licensed child care means in your state.
The federal government does not require background checks for child care providers. Although most parents assume that background checks are required for licensed care, this is not always the case. It's important to check your state's background check requirements for licensed child care providers. Child Care Aware® of America recommends that all child care providers have a comprehensive background check, including fingerprint checks against state and federal records, the child abuse registry, and the sex offender registry.
Child care centers and family child care homes are required by states to maintain specific ratios of staff to children. Use these tables to see your state's requirements.
The federal government does not require any minimum training for child care providers. Because of this, training and education requirements vary widely by state; 16 states do not require a high school degree for lead teachers in a child care center classroom. Use these resources to understand the training requirements for licensed child care providers in your state and compare to Child Care Aware® of America's recommendations.
Federal law requires that child care providers allow parents unlimited access to their children during the normal hours of operation and whenever children are in the care of such providers. States are required to maintain a record of substantiated parental complaints that must be available to the public on request. Beyond those minimum requirements, states develop additional policies regarding parent communication and involvement. See what your state requires below.
Federal law does not place any minimum inspection requirements on the states. Congress requires the Department of Defense to conduct quarterly inspections of its child care programs, but there is no similar federal requirement for civilian child care. Few states conduct inspections quarterly and most conduct an inspection once a year or LESS frequently. Use the resources below to determine how often child care facilities in your state are required to be inspected - and how well your state informs parents of inspection results.
Does your state help parents know about child care safety violations?