Child Care Options

Concerns in Child Care

Steps to Finding the Best Child Care for Your Family

Once you decided on and start using the right child care provider for your family there will be many positive situations. There may also be some negative situations. Here are some resources for those special situations.

Filing a Complaint against a Child Care Facility
For complaints about possible child abuse or neglect at a child care facility, you need to contact the Child Abuse Report Line 24/7 at (800) 292-9582Or you can access the online reporting portal by visiting iseethesigns.org

The Office of Child Care Licensing investigates complaints about possible violations of licensing rules by child care facilities. It has no authority to investigate financial matters nor does it investigate personal disputes.

To file a complaint about a child care facility, call (302) 892-5800 in New Castle County. In Kent or Sussex Counties dial (302) 739-5487 or (800) 822-2236 or  read about the complaint process and then file a confidential complaint online here.

Serious Injuries, Deaths and Substantiated Abuse in Child Care Settings

Regardless of the type of child care you choose for your child, accidents can happen. Licensed child care providers are required to notify OCCL within one business day of a “serious injury” and those self-reported numbers are reflected in the chart below. A “serious injury” is defined as any injury that needs medical care by a doctor or dentist beyond first aid.

Both deaths and suspicions of child abuse or neglect require immediate contact with OCCL and/or the 24-hour Child Abuse Report Line.

A “death” of a child is included in the statistics in the following situations: when a child dies while attending a child care program regardless of whether the provider is found to be at fault; or if a child dies after leaving child care due to an injury/incident that occurred while in care.

The numbers reflected on the charts for “substantiated abuse” are defined as cases when an investigation was completed by the institutional abuse unit and the findings confirm physical, mental, or emotional maltreatment of a child; sexual molestation of a child; or depriving a child of necessary care, which has either caused serious harm or created a substantial risk of serious harm.

 The charts below show the total number of each situation in each type of child care setting.  The “Total Statewide Capacity”  and “Total # of Facilities” are shown to give a point of reference to help you understand the risks.

wdt_IDChild Care Centers201820192020202120222023
1Total Statewide Capacity44,61845,19645,14046,37646,75348,463
2Total # of Facilities462457439458459453
3# of Serious Injuries18420887128181224
4# of Deaths010000
5# of Substantiated Cases of Child Abuse*131001
wdt_IDLarge Family Child Care20192020202120222023
1Total Statewide Capacity957883923890852
2Total # of Facilities8175787572
3# of Serious Injuries20012
4# of Deaths00000
5# of Substantiated Cases of Child Abuse*01010
wdt_IDFamily Child Care20192020202120222023
1Total Statewide Capacity4,5044,0893,8383,5243,192
2Total # of Facilities535485455420381
3# of Serious Injuries71543
4# of Deaths00000
5# of Substantiated Case of Child Abuse*00000
wdt_IDExempt Providers20192020202120222023
1Total Statewide CapacityNot ReportedNot ReportedNot ReportedNot ReportedNot Reported
2Total # of FacilitiesNot ReportedNot ReportedNot ReportedNot ReportedNot Reported
3# of Serious InjuriesNot ReportedNot ReportedNot ReportedNot ReportedNot Reported
4# of DeathsNot ReportedNot ReportedNot ReportedNot ReportedNot Reported
5# of Substantiated Case of Child Abuse*Not ReportedNot ReportedNot ReportedNot ReportedNot Reported
wdt_IDTotals (All Care Types)20192020202120222023
1Total Statewide Capacity50,65750,11251,13751,16752,507
2Total # of Facilities1,073999991954906
3# of Serious Injuries21688133189229
4# of Deaths10000
5# of Substantiated Case of Child Abuse*32011

Suspension and Expulsion in Delaware Early Childhood Programs

When considering a child care provider for your child, ask them about their policies. They should have a family manual that outlines many different situations and the procedures followed. One important example is how they handle behavior.

Delaware is committed to ensuring that all of our children receive the best early education possible by using a proactive and systemic approach to building resilience, and finding alternatives to preschool suspension and expulsion. Using this as a foundation, Delaware has developed this “Best Practice Statement for the Prevention of Expulsion and Suspension from Early Childhood Programs.”

My Child DE is a user-friendly website that brings together resources to help families, providers and other caretakers make informed choices for the children of Delaware. The goal of My Child DE is to help these groups feel welcome, informed and empowered to engage, learn and take the next steps needed to support children.