Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 1: Staffing

1.3 Pre-service Qualifications

1.3.3 Family Child Care Home Caregiver/Teacher Qualifications General Qualifications of Family Child Care Caregivers/Teachers to Operate a Family Child Care Home

All caregivers/teachers in large and small family child care homes should be at least twenty-one years of age, hold an official credential as granted by the authorized state agency, meet the general requirements specified in Standard through Standard, based on ages of the children served, and those in Section 1.3.3, and should have the following education, experience, and skills:

  1. Current accreditation by the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) (including entry-level qualifications and participation in required training) and a college certificate representing a minimum of three credit hours of early childhood education leadership or master caregiver/teacher training or hold an Associate’s degree in early childhood education or child development;
  2. A provider who has been in the field less than twelve months should be in the self-study phase of NAFCC accreditation;
  3. A valid certificate in pediatric first aid, including CPR;
  4. Pre-service training in health management in child care, including the ability to recognize signs of illness, knowledge of infectious disease prevention and safety injury hazards;
  5. If caring for infants, knowledge on safe sleep practices including reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and prevention of shaken baby syndrome/abusive head trauma (including how to cope with a crying infant);
  6. Knowledge of normal child development, as well as knowledge of indicators that a child is not developing typically;
  7. The ability to respond appropriately to children’s needs;
  8. Good oral and written communication skills;
  9. Willingness to receive ongoing mentoring from other teachers;
  10. Pre-service training in business practices;
  11. Knowledge of the importance of nurturing adult-child relationships on self-efficacy development;
  12. Medication administration training (6).

Additionally, large family child care home caregivers/teachers should have at least one year of experience serving the ages and developmental abilities of the children in their large family child care home.

Assistants, aides, and volunteers employed by a large family child care home should meet the qualifications specified in Standard

In both large and small family child care homes, staff members must have the education and experience to meet the needs of the children in care (7). Small family child care home caregivers/teachers often work alone and are solely responsible for the health and safety of small numbers of children in their care.

Most SIDS deaths in child care occur on the first day of care or within the first week; unaccustomed prone (tummy) sleeping increases the risk of SIDS eighteen times (3). Shaken baby syndrome/abusive head trauma is completely preventable. Pre-service training and frequent refresher training can prevent deaths (4).

Caregivers/teachers are more likely to administer medications than to perform CPR. Seven thousand children per year require emergency department visits for problems related to cough and cold medications (5).

Age eighteen is the earliest age of legal consent. Mature leadership is clearly preferable. Age twenty-one is more likely to be associated with the level of maturity necessary to independently care for a group of children who are not one’s own.

The NAFCC has established an accreditation process to enhance the level of quality and professionalism in small and large family child care (2).

A large family child care home caregiver/teacher, caring for more than six children and employing one or more assistants, functions as the primary caregiver as well as the facility director. An operator of a large family-child-care home should be offered training relevant to the management of a small child care center, including training on providing a quality work environment for employees.

For more information on assessing the work environment of family child care employees, see Creating Better Family Child Care Jobs: Model Work Standards, a publication by the Center for the Child Care Workforce (CCW) (1).

Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS General Qualifications of Directors Mixed Director/Teacher Role Differentiated Roles Qualifications of Lead Teachers and Teachers Qualifications for Assistant Teachers, Teacher Aides, and Volunteers Additional Qualifications for Caregivers/Teachers Serving Children Birth to Thirty-Five Months of Age Additional Qualifications for Caregivers/Teachers Serving Children Three to Five Years of Age Additional Qualifications for Caregivers/Teachers Serving School-Age Children First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training for Staff Topics Covered in Pediatric First Aid Training Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training for Swimming and Water Play Safe Sleep Practices and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID)/SIDS Risk Reduction
  1. Center for Child Care Workforce. 1999. Creating better family child care jobs: Model work standards. Washington, DC: Center for Child Care Workforce.
  2. National Association for Family Child Care. NAFCC official Website.
  3. Moon, R. Y., T. Calabrese, L. Aird. 2008. Reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome in child care and changing provider practices: Lessons learned from a demonstration project. Pediatrics 122:788-98.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Learn the signs. Act early.
  5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2008. CDC study estimates 7,000 pediatric emergency departments visits linked to cough and cold medication: Unsupervised ingestion accounts for 66 percent of incidents. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  6. American Academy of Pediatrics, Council on School Health. 2009. Policy statement: Guidance for the administration of medication in school. Pediatrics 124:1244-51.
  7. National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC). 2005. Quality standards for NAFCC accreditation. 4th ed. Salt Lake City, UT: NAFCC.