Family child care homes are child care programs run by one or two providers in their own home. Many parents prefer family child care for infants and very young children because it is a home-like environment. Family child care homes have a smaller number of children than centers. The children are in a mixed-age setting. Siblings will stay together.
When looking for a family child care provider, it is important for you and your child to be comfortable with the home, the children, and the caregiver. Find out whether there are other children or adults in the home who will be in contact with your child. Look at the space where the children play and the activities they will be doing.
Remember that a license or registration does not guarantee a well-rounded, quality care program. You must visit and evaluate each individual home setting. Use our checklists and ask a lot of questions.
In addition to full time child care for your infant or toddler, family child care homes may also offer:
- School-age child care
- Year round schedule
- Part-time schedules
- Flexible schedules
- Weekend and evening care
- Back-up care
- Learning activities
- Busing to local elementary school
- Welcome parents to spend time in the home and drop by unannounced
- Business contracts
- Policies regarding illness, respite care, emergency care, transportation, fees, vacation, etc. (Sample Parent/Provider contract agreements are available at the Child Care Council of Suffolk.)
- Social Security or tax ID numbers for child care tax credit
- Provider may have some training in child development
Types of Family Day Care Homes
NYS Registered Providers
NYS Registered Providers must be approved by the NYS Office of Children and Family Services. The Registration should be posted where parents can see it. They are required to take a variety of training classes. They may care for 6 children, ages 6 weeks to 12 years. They may also get approved to care for an additional 2 school-aged children. There must be one caregiver for every two children under the age of two. This includes the provider's own children.
NYS Group Licensed Family Child Care Providers
NYS Group Licensed providers must be approved by the NYS Office of Children and Family Services. The License should be posted where parents can see it. They are required to take a variety of training classes. They must have an assistant listed on the license. They may care for 12 children, ages 6 weeks to 12 years. They may also get approved to care for an additional 4 school-aged children. There must be one caregiver for every two children under the age of two. This includes the provider's own children.
Legally Exempt Provider-Legal Two
Legal Two Providers are legally allowed to care for two children, in addition to their own, without being licensed or regulated by New York State. The Child Care Council of Suffolk maintains a database of Legal Two Providers who are not listed with other sources.
For more information on child care regulations, visit the NYS Office of Children and Family Services