TYPES OF EARLY LEARNING & CHILD CARE OPTIONS

 

Family Child Care Homes (Licensed)

Family child care takes place in a person's home for children from unrelated families. Group size may vary according to family child care provider preferences. Ages of children may often be mixed, although some providers serve only a particular age group, such as infants, toddlers or preschoolers.

 

Licensed Family Child Care Homes

Licensed providers must meet minimal state requirements and must meet the following licensing requirements regulated by the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), such as:

  • Registering annually with DCF.
  • Completing and providing an annual health and safety home inspection checklist to parents or guardians.
  • Providing proof of substitute care.
  • Providing proof of background checks for all adults in the household.
  • Completing additional hours of training annually.
  • Completing specific traning in early literacy and language development.
  • Following health, safety and nutrition guidelines.
  • Maintaining enrollment and attendance records.
  • Complying with licensing standards of local and state governments.
  • Maintaining current infant and child CPR and First Aid certifications.
  • Passing an inspection prior to receiving a child care operating license.
  • Complying with two routine inspections and one renewal licensing inspection annually.
  • Complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and making reasonable accommodations for children with special needs.

Adult-to-Child Ratios for Family Child Care Homes

A family child care provider may care for one of the following groups of children, including the provider's own children younger than 13 years of age:

  • Birth to 12 months of age. (1:4) or (1 adult:4 infants)
  • No more than three children under 12 months of age. (1:6)
  • As long as at least five children are scool age and no more than two are under 12 months of age. (1:10)

 

 

Licensed or License-Exempt Early Learning Centers

Early learning centers may be licensed or license-exempt and are usually located in spaces adapted for early learning and child care purposes. Some types of centers available include stand-alone centers and those located in businesses, apartment complexes, universities, public schools, hospitals or faith-based facilities.

 

Licensed Centers

Licensed centers must pass an initial inspection to ensure they meet all licensing standards. Licensed centers are also re-inspected to follow up on health and safety standards. To meet all the standards these centers must:

  • Meet physical facility requirements.
  • Follow health, safety and nutrition guidelines.
  • Maintain enrollment and attendance records.
  • Allow parents/guardians access to their children at all times.
  • Comply with licensing standards of local and state governments.
  • Meet staff and director training requirements.
  • Conduct screening and background checks on all employees/teachers.
  • Document current immunization records and physical examinations for all children in care.
  • Comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and make reasonable accommodations for children with special needs.

 

License-Exempt (Religious) Centers

Some religious centers are exempt from child care licensing. These centers must be an integral part of a church or faith-based school and must:

  • Be accredited by, or a member of, an organization that requires compliance with health and safety standards.
  • Comply with state and federal background screening requirements.
  • Meet local governing requirements for city or county health and safety regulations.
  • Maintain enrollment and attendance records.
  • Maintain CPR and First Aid certifications.
  • Comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and make reasonable accommodations for children with special needs.

 

Adult-to-Child Ratios for Licensed and License-Exempt Centers

Ratios represent the number of children that one adult may supervise for each age group.

  • Birth to 12 months of age. (1:4)
  • 12 to 24 months of age. (1:6)
  • 2-year-old children. (1:11)
  • 3-year-old children. (1:15)
  • 4- to 5-year-old children. (1:20)
  • 4- to 5-year-old children in VPK educational programs.
    • School-year program. (1:11)
    • Summer program. (1:12)
  • 5 years of age or older. (1:25)
  • As long as at least five children are scool age and no more than two are under 12 months of age. (1:10)

*Note: Some counties may have more restrictive requirements than those required by the state.

 

 

School-Age Care (Licensed or License-Exempt)

School-age children are at least 5 years old by September 1 of that school year and are attending kindergarten through fifth grade. A school-age program is a licensed or license-exempt program that serves only school-age children. The setting for a school-age program may be a public or private school, private center, family child care home, faith-based facility or community/recreation program. School-age programs may be open before and after school including full days during teacher planning days, spring, winter and summer breaks.

 

Licensed School-Age Programs

Licensed programs must pass inspections to ensure all standards required by statute are met, including:

  • Meeting physical facility requirements.
  • Following health, safety and nutrition guidelines.
  • Maintaining enrollment and attendance records.
  • Allowing parents/guardians access to their children at all times.
  • Complying with annual inspection schedules.
  • Receiving 45 hours of training initially, in addition to a minimum of 10 hours annually after completion.
  • Submitting screening and background checks of all employees/caregivers.
  • Complying with a ratio of one adult for every 25 children.
  • Having a supervisor or director who holds an administrator's credential. Multi-site supervision at school-age child care programs is permitted.

 

License-Exempt (Religious) School-Age Programs and Summer Camps

The following programs are exempt from school-age care licensure, but must meet city/county health and safety regulations:

  • Public and non-public schools and their integral programs.
  • Summer camps with children in full-time residence.
  • Summer day camps.
  • Programs that are an integral part of a faith-based school.
  • Religious education programs conducted during vacation periods.
  • Operators of temporary establishments (e.g., hurricane shelters).

*Note: Exempt programs are not government inspected.

 

 

Unregulated Care

Unregulated child care does not require licensure or compliance inspections by the state. Types of unregulated care include:

  • Informal Care: Informal care takes place in a person's home where one adult cares for children from only one family. The person is often a relative, neighbor or friend. This type of care has no state guidelines or inspections. 
  • Au Pair/Nanny Care: Au pairs provide families with intercultural, individualized, live-in child care. Most au pairs are members of one of 14 federally designated Au Pair Sponsor Agencies, which are regulated by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Exchange Visitor Program. Nannies may also be hired by families locally to care for the children of one family and may live in or out of the home.
  • Membership Organizations: Membership organizations are nonprofit programs associated with, or certified by, national organizations; therefore, personnel are not subject to DCF screenings. An example organization is the Boys and Girls Club, which is frequently an after-school program.

*Note: Some counties may have more restrictive requirements than those required by the state.

Contact Us

Parents: (561) 514-3300

Providers/Administrative: (561) 214-8000
Send us an email


Accessibility Statement

Special Notice: If you require Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations to participate in any ELCPBC event or activity, please notify Christie Young, Single Point of Contact, by phone at 561-214-7424 or by email at christie.young@elcpalmbeach.org within at least seven (7) days of the event.  Accommodations will be provided at no extra charge.