Types of Child Care

The different child care options available are:

Family Day Homes

During the absence of the parent or guardian for less than 24 hours, the individual provider assumes responsibility for the supervision, protection and well-being of a child less than 13 years of age. It is the responsibility of each parent or guardian to select or monitor child care and determine the quality of that care.

State Licensed Family Day Home

The code of Virginia mandates the licensure of family day homes that provide care for six to twelve children. Licensing standards, which are proposed by the State Board of Social Services and enforced by the Division of Licensing Programs, ensures that the activities services and facilities of the family day home are conducive to the welfare of the children in care. Licensing inspectors make scheduled and unscheduled visits. For additional information on these providers please call the licensing office at 703 934-1505 or DSS site and select children.

System Licensed Provider

The contact agency for system licensed providers is Infant / Toddler Family Day Care. Parents that choose providers within this system are referred by Infant / Toddler to their system providers. These providers are considered State licensed and must comply with the same requirements, see State Licensed Family Day Homes. For more information on these providers call Infant / Toddler at 703-352-3449 or the Infant / Toddler website.

Voluntarily Registered Family Day Home

Voluntary Registration is a form of regulation offered to family day homes that are not required to be state licensed. The contract agency, Child Nutrition, makes an initial home inspection to make sure basic child safeguards are adequate. A small number of these homes are monitored for compliance with staffing requirements and a health and safety checklist. For additional information please contact Child Nutrition at 800-735-5434.

Your Home

An in-home care arrangement is when someone cares for your child in your home. There are no licensing regulations for this type of care.

Day Care Centers

Child day centers are child day programs offered in a facility that is not the residence of the provider. A child day program is a regularly operating service arrangement for children where, during the absence of the parent or guardian, a person or organization has agreed to assume responsibility for the supervision, protection and well-being of a child. It is the responsibility of each parent or guardian to select and monitor a child day center and to determine the quality of that facility. For additional information contact the department of licensing at 703-934-1505 or visit the DSS site and select children.

State Licensed Facilities

The state-licensed facilities list includes centers which have met licensing requirements for child care in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Virginia Department of Social Services enforces these standards by inspecting centers at least twice a year and investigating complaints.

Religious-Exempt Facilities

Child day centers operated by religiously exempt facilities may be exempt from state licensure. However, facilities seeking religious exemption must submit annual paperwork to meet health and safety requirements to the state licensing office. The Virginia Department of Social Services, Division of Licensing, may send inspectors to these facilities only to confirm that they are in compliance with code requirement and to investigate complaints.

Other Programs

Other programs such as certain short-term programs (e.g., some camps, some recreation programs) do not have any licensing requirements. Whether short-term programs must be licensed depends on factors such as the total amount of time they operate each year or the total amount of time a child is allowed to attend.