Topic Overview

In the United States, licensing standards for child care centers vary
by each individual state. General provisions for licensing address these issues:

  • Health and safety requirements
  • Ways
    of dealing with a child’s negative behavior
  • The number of staff
    that are needed to safely care for the children
  • Training
    requirements for staff
  • Type of equipment
  • Requirements for daily program
  • Types of food
    services needed for children of different ages

Standards vary widely by each state. And how each state monitors and enforces guidelines also varies greatly.

As part of your research, find out which of your potential child care
providers are accredited or are in the process of obtaining accreditation by
the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the
National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC), and/or the National After School Association.footnote 1
Accreditation from these organizations helps ensure that a family or group
child care center meets basic quality standards, even if your state has lax
licensing requirements or enforcement.

Related Information



  1. Bauer NS (2011). Nonparental childcare. In CD Rudolph et al., eds., Rudolph’s Pediatrics, 22nd ed., pp. 364-366. New York: McGraw-Hill.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD – Pediatrics

Current as ofMay 4, 2017

Current as of:
May 4, 2017