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) 292-9582.

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 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 Centers201620172018
1Total Statewide Capacity43,57643,88344,618
2Total # of Facilities460460462
3# of Serious Injuries166237184
4# of Deaths000
5# of Substantiated Cases of Child Abuse*Not AvailableNot Available1
6*Note: Only totals were reported before 2018
wdt_IDLarge Family Child Care201620172018
1Total Statewide Capacity893901927
2Total # of Facilities757678
3# of Serious Injuries110
4# of Deaths000
5# of Substantiated Cases of Child Abuse*Not AvailableNot Available1
6*Note: Only totals were reported before 2018
wdt_IDFamily Child Care201620172018
1Total Statewide Capacity5,5895,1824,815
2Total # of Facilities662614568
3# of Serious Injuries697
4# of Deaths100
5# of Substantiated Case of Child Abuse*Not AvailableNot Available1
8*Note: Only totals were reported before 2018
wdt_IDExempt Providers201620172018
1Total Statewide CapacityNot ReportedNot ReportedNot Reported
2Total # of FacilitiesNot ReportedNot ReportedNot Reported
3# of Serious InjuriesNot ReportedNot ReportedNot Reported
4# of DeathsNot ReportedNot ReportedNot Reported
5# of Substantiated Case of Child Abuse*Not ReportedNot ReportedNot Reported
6*Note: Only totals were reported before 2018
wdt_IDTotals (All Care Types)201620172018
1Total Statewide Capacity50,05849,96650,360
2Total # of Facilities1,1971,1501,108
3# of Serious Injuries173247191
4# of Deaths100
5# of Substantiated Case of Child Abuse*2103
6*Note: Only totals were reported before 2018

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.