Benefits of Licensed Child Care

As a parent in Virginia, it is essential to understand the differences between licensed and unlicensed child care. These differences directly affect the quality of care, safety, and overall well-being of your child. Take a look at these comparisons:

1) Licensing and Regulation:

  • Licensed Child Care: Providers must meet specific standards and regulations set by VDOE, including inspections and background checks.
  • Unlicensed Child Care: Some types operate without state oversight and may lack critical safety and staff qualifications.

2) Quality and Accountability:

  • Licensed Child Care: Licensed child care programs are held to higher standards that prioritize the well-being and development of children. These programs are accountable to health and safety regulations enforced by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Licensing indicates a commitment to maintaining a safe and enriching environment for children.
  • Unlicensed Child Care: May lack accountability, with variable quality and potential safety risks

3) Health and Safety:

  • Licensed Child Care: Inspections ensure that facilities, equipment, and practices meet state standards for background checks, cleanliness, safety, and emergency readiness.
  • Unlicensed Child Care: Potential gaps in safety protocols and emergency preparedness due to a lack of regulation.

4) Educational Programming:

  • Licensed Child Care: Often offers structured educational activities that promote cognitive, social, and emotional development.
  • Unlicensed Child Care: May not adhere to educational standards, potentially limiting access to learning experiences.

5) Peace of Mind:

  • Licensed Child Care: Knowing your child is in a state-regulated environment provides peace of mind.
  • Unlicensed Child Care: Opting for unlicensed care carries more uncertainty, potentially compromising safety and quality.

Child Care Licensing—Inspections

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) conducts inspections of licensed programs, including:

    • Initial inspections before operation
    • Twice-yearly unannounced inspections
    • Additional inspections as needed for program development or in response to complaints
    • May be inspected by VDOE to ensure compliance with state regulations
    • Inspected when a complaint or allegation is reported
    • Additional health and safety inspections if the center is a subsidy vendor
    • Inspected before initial certification and renewal
    • Inspected in response to complaints
    • Annual monitoring inspections conducted on a random sampling of homes
    • Minimum of one unannounced health and safety inspection per year for subsidy vendors

Visit the VDOE website to learn more about the benefits of Licensed Child Care!