Main content

    Health Information

    Child Care Providers: Licensing Standards

    Child Care Providers: Licensing Standards

    Topic Overview

    In the United States, licensing standards for child care centers vary by each individual state. General provisions for licensing address these issues:

    • Health and safety requirements
    • Ways of dealing with a child's negative behavior
    • The number of staff that are needed to safely care for the children
    • Training requirements for staff
    • Type of equipment needed
    • Requirements for daily program
    • Types of food services needed for children of different ages

    Standards vary widely by each state. And how each state monitors and enforces guidelines also varies greatly.

    As part of your research, find out which of your potential child care providers are accredited or are in the process of obtaining accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC), and/or the National After School Association. 1 Accreditation from these organizations helps ensure that a family or group child care center meets basic quality standards, even if your state has lax licensing requirements or enforcement.

    For detailed information on state child care licensing, see the Other Places to Get Help section of the topic Choosing Child Care.

    Related Information

    References

    Citations

    1. Alkon AD (2003). Nonparental child care section of Psychosocial issues. In CD Rudolph et al., eds., Rudolph's Pediatrics, 21st ed., pp. 512?515. New York: McGraw-Hill.

    Credits

    By Healthwise Staff
    Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
    Specialist Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
    Last Revised September 14, 2012

    Last Revised: September 14, 2012

    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

    1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.