Improving Quality Of Care Through Child Care Licensing Standards

Mar 26, 2009

States have multiple policy levers that they can use to improve the quality of child care for children. One critical lever is child care licensing standards. The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) recently released its annual update on child care center licensing. The report, We CAN Do Better: 2009 Update, finds that while states have made progress in strengthening some areas of licensing standards for child care centers, such as health and safety standards, there is still significant room for improvement. The report scores and ranks all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense (DoD) on child care center regulation and oversight using ten regulation and five oversight benchmarks. States scored an average of 83 out of 150 points in the report. The DoD ranked the highest with a grade of B. No state scored an A.

Also in recent release is The 2007 Child Care Licensing Study, a joint study by the National Association for Regulatory Administration (NARA) and the National Child Care Information and Technical Assistance Center (NCCIC). The study is a follow-up to their 2005 joint report on child care regulations and policies for child care centers and family child care homes. The report covers four areas:

  • National overview of state licensing programs and policies
  • Child care center licensing regulations
  • Small family child care home licensing regulations
  • Large/group family child care home licensing regulations

The study provides detailed counts of state licensing policies and regulations and tracks state revisions to their child care regulations from 1985-2007. Using the NARA/NCCIC study, states can see how their policies and regulations compare to other states. As a supplement, NARA has published additional 50-state comparative data tables and state-by-state profiles of key licensing policies and facility requirements on its website.

Both the NACCRRA and NARA/NCCIC reports are useful resources that states can use to identify ways to strengthen their licensing rules and policies to improve the quality of child care for all families.

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