Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 10: Licensing and Community Action

10.2 Regulatory Policy

10.2.0 Regulation of All Out-of-Home Child Care

Every state should have a statute that identifies the licensing agency and mandates the licensing and regulation of all full-time and part-time out-of-home care of children, regardless of setting, except care provided by parents or legal guardians, grandparents, siblings, aunts, or uncles (sometimes called relative, friend, and neighbor care) or when a family engages an individual in the family’s home to care solely for their children (1,2).
A state statute gives government the authority to protect children as vulnerable and dependent citizens and to protect families as consumers of child care service. Licensing must have a statutory basis, because it is unknown to the common law. The statute must address the administration and location of the responsibility. Fifty states have child care regulatory statutes. The laws of some states exempt part-day centers, school-age child care, care provided by religious organizations, drop-in care, summer camps, or care provided in small or large family child care homes (3). In some states the threshold for family child care homes being regulated leaves many children unprotected (4). These exclusions and gaps in coverage expose children to unacceptable risks.
  1. National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). 1997. Licensing and public regulation of early childhood programs: A position statement. Washington, DC: NAEYC.
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, National Child Care Information and Technical Assistance Center. 2010. Understanding and supporting family, friend, and neighbor child care.
  3. Child Care and Early Education Research Connections. 2010. Child care licensing and regulation: A key topic resource list. 2nd ed.
  4. National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA). 2010. Leaving children to chance: NACCRRA’s ranking of state standards and oversight of small family child care homes, 2010 update. Arlington, VA: NACCRRA. Children 2 Chance_rev_031510.pdf.