Trusting someone else to watch your child can be an extremely difficult part of being a parent. There are many factors that go into locating the best quality care for your child, and each individual family wants or needs something different from their ideal child care provider.  It’s important to know what options exist for child care in your community and to find a match that your entire family feels comfortable with.

Here is a short overview of the 5 principal types of child care available in our community, each with its own unique benefits, and an idea of what these environments might look like:

Certified Child Care Centers:

  • Operate in a commercial or community building
  • Care for 13 children or more
  • Regulated by Office of Childcare (OCC) and renew license annually
  • Often include separate rooms or areas for different age groups or developmental stages
  • High staff training and certification requirements
  • Sometimes considered a more impersonal, inconsistent option because of more frequent child and staff turnover rate
  • Usually not affected or disrupted by caregiver illness or vacation
  • Typically the most expensive type of out-of-home care
  • Should maintain staff to child ratio of 1 adult to every 4 infants and young toddlers, 5 older toddlers, 10 preschoolers, or 15 school-aged children

Certified Family Child Care Home:

  • Usually take place in home setting, but may not be the residence of the care provider.
  • Home is evaluated and approved by Office of Child Care staff
  • Regulated by OCC and renew license annually
  • May be licensed to care for a maximum of either 12 or 16 children, depending on department authorization
  • Maintains many of the same strict requirements and regulations as a certified center, including 15 additional hours of additional training per year for all providers and employees
  • Smaller groups of children and more consistent primary caregiver than centers
  • Cost varies, but is typically less expensive than centers and more expensive than Registered Family care

Registered Family Child Care:

  • Operate in child care provider’s own residence
  • May care for up to 10 children, including their own
  • 6 of the 10 children may be under six years old and only 2 of those 6 children may be under twenty-four months
  • Must pass health and safety review and renew license every 2 years
  • Providers train 8 additional hours every 2 years
  • Flexible scheduling typically available, such as part-time, on-call, evenings and weekends
  • Cost is usually lower than previous options

DHS Listed Exempt Child Care (Non-regulated):

  • Providers are listed with the Department of Human Services and can care for children whose parents receive help paying for childcare from the state
  • Operate in child care provider’s own residence
  • While residence must comply with the Health and Safety requirements of the State, the OCC does NOT visit or regulate the site of exempt home care unless a complaint is received
  • May care for no more than 3 children other than the caregiver’s relatives
  • Intimate bonding setting for children and care providers
  • Providers may take only the required Child Care Orientation course, or may continue to trainings on Child Abuse and Neglect, CPR/First aid, and Food Handlers cards, in order to receive higher rate of pay from the state
  • Great option for parents who know a family member, friend, or neighbor they already feel comfortable with caring for their children
  • To find out if your family qualifies to receive assistance paying for child care from the state of Oregon, visit the Department of Human Services website or call 541-686-7555

Other Exempt (Non-regulated) Programs:

  • In the state of Oregon anyone can care for up to 3 children other than their own without being listed, registered, or regulated through any organization
  • While care environment must comply with the Health and Safety requirements of the state, the OCC does NOT visit or regulate the site of exempt care unless a complaint is received
  • After school programs, preschool programs, club or hobby groups,  and fitness center child care are all examples of non-regulated child care programs

While these are the 5 most common types of child care in our community, there is a large variety of daily structures, facility layouts, and child care philosophies to be seen in each of these categories. For this reason it can be helpful to contact the local Child Care Resource and Referral Center, Family Connections of Lane and Douglas Counties, to further discuss your family’s specific child care needs. Here, specialists can view details on hundreds of programs in the area and can give you a starting point with several references to child care programs that may work for you.

Nothing is more important than feeling that your child will be safe, happy, and well taken care of when you can’t be with them, and that means thinking critically about which of these options is the right environment for your little ones. Then you can move on to the next phase and start looking at individual programs to find your ideal child care setting.

Coming soon – What’s next!? Six Steps to Choosing Quality Child Care

This is Part 1 of a three part series LaneKids is producing in partnership with Family Connections of Lane and Douglas Counties to provide parents information about selecting quality child care. For more information about local child care options, please contact the Family Connections Parent Specialist at 541-463-3951 or email[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]