Virginia Child Care Guide for Parents

Child Care plays a very crucial role in the child’s well-being. Since this is the child’s growing up years, his experiences has great impact in his development as a person. Hence, parents do everything they can in order to avail of the best Child Care facility that fits their child’s need and meets their budget. They need to find a place where to entrust their kids. Fortunately, the Virginia Department of Social Services has guided parents in choosing the type of Child Care that suits their needs.

But before we discuss on the different types of Child Care, parents should consider the following factors:

(source: Virginia Child Care Guide)

  • Provider has training in child development and experience in the group care of children;

  • Environment is safe, clean and designed to promote learning and growth;

  • Provider is nurturing and encourages a variety of learning experiences that are age- and stage-appropriate;

  • Health practices are implemented and nutritious meals and snacks are served;

  • Program is responsive to the children’s and families’ needs;

  • Program solicits family involvement.

Armed with the above guide, you may now follow the suggested steps to start your Child Care hunting journey:

  • Check for the List of Child Care providers identified by Virginia Department of Social Services. To check the list, click this site:
  • Based on the list, conduct environmental scanning on your initial choices. Call and visit the place to assess their facility.
  • Evaluate/verify if the staff are trained to handle/facilitate the needs and activities of the children.
  • If the first three steps are positively met, bring your child to the place as many times as possible and ask your child if he is comfortable with the place. Even ask the provider/facilitator to talk to your child to check if your child feels at peace with them. Otherwise, go back to step number 2 and try your other choices.

To narrow down your choice, let me give you the different types of Child Care (source –

Child Day Center

Child day centers are child day programs offered to (1) two or more children under the age of 13 years in a facility that is not the residence of the provider or of any of the children in care or (2) 13 or more children at any location. During the absence of a parent or guardian, the operator of the child day center has agreed to assume responsibility for the supervision, protection and well-being of children under the age of 13 years for less than a 24-hour period.

Family Day Home
Family day homes provide care for six to 12 children (exclusive of the provider’s own children and any children who reside in the home). The care may be offered for less than 24 hours in the home of the provider or in the home of any of the children in care.

Short-Term Child Day Center

Short-term child day centers are child day centers that operate for part of the year only.

Certified Pre-School
Certified preschools are those operated by private schools that are accredited by any statewide accrediting organization recognized by the Board of Education or a private school or preschool that offers to preschool-aged children a program accredited by organizations as listed in the Code and recognized by the Board of Education to be exempt from licensure. They must meet certain requirements specified in the Code of Virginia.

The information provided by Virginia Department of Social Services on the different types of Child Care only serves as the parents’ guide in their decision. At the end of the day, it all boils down to the child’s well-being and development without compromising his happiness and safety.