Types of child care

From occrra.org and childcareaware.org

How do you know what type of care is best for your child? There are many options available…

  • Child care centers
  • School age child care
  • Family child care
  • In-home caregivers
  • Care provided by relatives, friends and neighbors

Choosing quality care is important, no matter which kind of provider you decide upon. Please review Four steps for selecting a child care provider, or learn more about accreditation for child care programs.

Child Care Centers

Child Care Centers care for children in groups. All states require centers to be licensed. For regulations in Ohio see: Ohio law pertaining to child care.

Licensing does not insure quality but it does set minimum health, safety and caregiver training standards which centers must maintain.

Why do parents choose child care centers?
Parents choose centers because they believe that larger groups, multiple caregivers and state inspections make programs safer for their children and make the arrangement more dependable. They respect the reputation of the child care program or the institution sponsoring the program.

Many parents believe that more staff, space, equipment, toys and the organized activities, provide a better learning environment for their children.

School Age Child Care

School Age Child Care can be provided in a center setting or a Family Child Care home.  This is care provided for school age children during non-school hours. This includes before and afterschool care, snow days and summer vacation. Centers care for children in groups. All states require centers to be licensed. For regulations in Ohio see: Ohio law pertaining to child care.

Licensing does not insure quality but it does set minimum health, safety and caregiver training standards which centers must maintain.

Why do parents choose school age child care?
Parents choose school age care because they need before and after school care to allow them to work. Many school age programs allow children opportunities to be involved in an enriching learning environment and to participate in age-appropriate pro-social activities.

Family Child Care Providers

Family child care providers offer care for children in the provider’s home. Although requirements vary from state to state, most states require family child care providers be regulated if they care for more than four children. Many states have a voluntary regulation process for providers caring for four or fewer children.

All states set minimum health, safety and nutrition standards for providers. Most states require family child care providers to have a criminal records check and/or child abuse and neglect clearance. Many states require providers to have pre-service and/or on-going training. Most states inspect family child care homes annually or on a random sample basis.

Why do Parents Choose Family Child Care Providers?
Parents choose family child care because they want to keep their children in a home-like environment. They prefer to relate to a single caregiver and believe that children are healthier, happier and more secure in smaller groups.

Some parents like having all their children in the same group, or trust what they learned about the provider from friends. Sometimes they choose family child care because they find it closer to home, less expensive or more flexible.

In-home Caregivers

In-home Caregivers provide care for children in the child’s home. They include live-in and live-out nannies and housekeepers. Most states do not regulate in-home caregivers, but some states regulate nanny-placement agencies. Many states do, however, require in-home caregivers receiving child care subsidy payments to be screened through a criminal history check and/or child abuse and neglect clearance. A few require minimal training in health and safety.

Why do parents choose in-home caregivers?
Parents choose in-home care because they believe their children will be safer and more secure in their own home. They believe that if they employ the caregiver to work in their home, they have more control over the kind of care their children will receive.

Some parents find in-home care is a more convenient arrangement for the family and may provide more flexibility. If there are several children involved, they may find that in-home care is not significantly more expensive than other forms of care.

Care provided by relatives, friends and neighbors

Sometimes parents choose relatives, friends or neighbors to care for their child. This type of care is often called “Kith and Kin” care and can take place in the caregiver’s home or in the child’s home. Sometimes parents arrange to work different shifts, so that one parent is always available to care for the children.

Many states do not regulate care provided by relatives, friends and neighbors. A few states require these informal providers to be screened through a criminal history check and/or child abuse and neglect clearance. Several states require minimal training in health and safety.

Why do parents choose care by relatives, friends and neighbors?
Parents who use this kind of care consider themselves lucky to have a relative, friend or neighbor care for their children. They believe that these caregivers will provide warmer, more loving care for the child and that the child will be more secure.

Many parents believe that relatives, friends and neighbors will be more likely to share their values and they feel more comfortable entrusting their children to them. Sometimes parents use this type of care because their schedules, budgets or transportation problems limit their other child care options.

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