Choosing a Child Care Provider

If you need help providing child care for your child, contact your
local Early Learning Coalition

Finding a child care facility or family day care home for your child is a very important decision. The following questions and resources may help you as you talk to and visit child care centers before deciding on the right fit for your child:

  • Is the facility licensed by the State of Florida? Some Florida child care centers also earn a Gold Seal designation, reflecting quality in the level of care and supervision provided to children.  Visit our online search to identify licensed child care providers and see inspection histories.
  • Are all teachers are up-to-date on training requirements?
  • Does the facility meet all staff-to-child ratios?
    Ratio for Center-Based Care
    Ratio for Center-Based Care

    4 infants (less than one-year old) : 1 caregiver

    6 one-year olds: 1 caregiver

    11 two-year olds : 1 caregiver

    15 three-year olds : 1 caregiver

    20 four-year olds : 1 caregiver

    25 five-year olds and older : 1 caregiver

     

    Ratio for Home-Based Care
    Ratio for Home-Based Care

    4 infants (less than one-year old): 1 caregiver

    3 infants + 3 additional children (6 children maximum) : 1 caregiver

    6 pre-school children (if all are older than 1 year) : 1 caregiver

    10 children (if no more than 5 are preschool age and of those 5, no more than 2 are under 1 year) : 1 caregiver

  • What kind of curriculum do they offer? Is it developmentally appropriate?
  • Does staff have positive, nurturing interaction with the children?
  • Do the children appear to be happy and comfortable in their surroundings?
  • Are the children constantly supervised? Is each staff member responsible for the same children each day?
  • How do they keep parents informed about their child's progress and school updates? How frequently are communications sent to parents?
  • Does the facility have clean, safe surroundings?
  • Do they provide healthy, nutritious snacks and/or meals?

The Quality Checklist for Evaluating Early Learning Programs will be useful to take with you as you visit child care facilities and/or homes.

Additional information and requirements regarding all the above issues are detailed in the Florida Administrative Code Child Care Standards.