Who Should Be Licensed? Ohio Examines Rules For Family Child Care
Oct 17, 2007
A new bill in the Ohio state legislature would require any provider caring for 3 or more children to be licensed by the state. Currently in Ohio, providers caring for 7 children or more, up to a maximum of 12, must be licensed by the state. (Although family child care providers caring for fewer than 7 children are not state-licensed, they must be certified by the county in which they live before receiving public subsidy funds. Each county designs its own certification process, which may include health and safety requirements, background checks, and/or child development training.)
Which family child care providers should be licensed? States vary in their licensing requirements. Ten states license family child care providers caring for 1 or more child. The National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) benchmark is: "Both child centers and all family child care homes caring for even one unrelated child on a regular basis for a fee are required to be licensed." The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) recommends that: Any program providing care and education to children from two or more unrelated families should be regulated. The Center for the Study of Social Policy recommends that adults (except parents or guardians) caring for three or more children should register with the state as a child care provider. Licensing is one vehicle that states use to impact key indicators of quality in child care, such as group sizes, child to staff ratios, and health and safety measures.
Families choose family child care settings for a variety of reasons including cultural and linguistic preferences, work schedules, and preferences for mixed age groupings or keeping siblings together. Current Census data show that approximately 10 percent of children under 5 with employed mothers are in family child care. Among families who receive some help paying for child care, federal data show that approximately one-third (32%) of families receiving child care assistance use family child care for their children ages birth to 13. Parents rely on family child care every day. Yet in too many states, family child care providers caring for large numbers of children remain unlicensed and without oversight. As Ohio re-evaluates its licensing rules, the state has an opportunity to give more families the peace of mind they need, knowing their children are safe.