Choosing a quality child care program
Research tells us that young children from birth to age five who receive quality care and education are fundamentally more prepared for their futures, especially school. Early experiences in life, specifically under the age of five, affect the development of the brain and lay the foundation for intelligence, emotional health, and moral development throughout these childhood years. Quality childcare gives children the opportunity to develop and learn these skills early in life. In Delaware, families can choose from three types of child care:
- Family Child Care: Offers child care in a licensed home for up to nine unrelated children, depending on their ages. Family child care offers children a home-like setting. These centers believe children are healthier, happier, and more secure in smaller groups. They can sometimes be closer to homes, less expensive and more flexible than traditional child care centers.
- Large Family Child Care: Offers child care in a licensed home or commercial building for up to 14 unrelated children, depending on their ages. Larger family child care centers believe children do well with one or two providers and that children are healthier, happier, and more secure in smaller groups. These centers can sometimes be closer to homes, less expensive, or more flexible than traditional child care centers.
- Child Care Centers: Offers child care to a larger number of children. These centers may include early care, preschool, and after-school programs. Child care centers vary in philosophies, educational offerings, costs and services. They believe children do well with more structure. They offer students a chance to interact with larger groups of children from different age groups and backgrounds.
Quality care should give your child a safe, nurturing, and stimulating environment by a well-trained and experienced adult. High-quality child care is important for healthy development of children and school preparation. No one has a greater impact on the quality of care than the people who work daily with children.
Find a Delaware program
- Search for licensed childcare on MyChildDE.org: The MyChildDE.org website allows families to search for licensed child care programs throughout the state. Get information on the First Access Care child care referral service. Search by location. Find more about non-compliances and substantiated complaints for the past five years.
- Search programs by Delaware Stars ratings: Delaware Stars for Early Success – or Delaware Stars – is a state program to support early child care and education providers as they continuously improve child care quality throughout the state. Families who attend Delaware Stars programs know their programs are pursuing the best outcomes for children. Providers that choose to join Delaware Stars can achieve up to a 5-star rating for their work on curriculum, instructional strategies and more. Delaware Stars is the state’s quality rating and improvement system (QRIS), which evaluates, enhances and communicates early learning.
- Find no-cost programs: Delaware offers Head Start, Early Head Start and Early Childhood Assistance Programs at no cost to eligible Delaware families. Learn more about the benefits of these programs and how to contact one of these child care providers.
- Get help paying for childcare: Delaware offers Purchase of Care (POC) and other programs to help families pay for child care so that caretakers can work, get training or meet specific needs. This flier provides eligibility and application information.