Child Care Options

Tools To Help You Choose

Steps to Finding the Best Child Care for Your Family

Finding the right child care for your family is a big decision!  There is so much to consider; location, price, size, ages served, schedule, training of staff, cleanliness, materials, etc.  Available below are some tools to help you choose.

Types of Care – Pros and Cons 

There are pros and cons for each type of care. To help you decide what is important to you the following provides you with a comparison at a glance:

wdt_IDFeatureChild Care CentersFamily Child CareIn-Home Care
1How children are groupedSimilar ages grouped togetherMixed agesIndividual or family group
2Group sizeLarger groups of childrenSmall groups of childrenIndividually sized group of children
3AtmosphereSchool-like atmosphereHome-like atmosphereAt home
4Teacher TrainingTraining requiredTraining requiredNo training or licensing required
5Exposure to illnessHighest risk of exposure to illnessLess risk of exposure to illnessLowest risk of exposure to illness
6Opportunities for observation and monitoringMost opportunity for public observation and monitoringLess opportunity for public observation and monitoringNo opportunity for public observation and monitoring
7StaffingMultiple staff members to cover for illness and vacationsLimited staff members to cover illness and vacationsNo backup staff to cover illness and vacations
8Hours of operationOperation hours are not flexibleMore flexibility for individual schedulesMost flexibility for individual schedules
9Potential for staff turnoverHighest potential staff turnoverConsistent primary caregiversConsistent primary caregivers
10Tax implicationsPayments are tax deductible *Payments are tax deductible *Tax implications ^

* If you use unlicensed care that should be licensed in Delaware, you cannot take it as a tax deduction. Please check with your tax expert to find out the details for your individual family.

^ There are tax implications both for the parent and the provider when using in-home care (care that takes place in the child’s home).  Please check with your tax expert to find out the details for your individual family.


The Office of Child Care Licensing (OCCL) regularly visits child care providers to review that basic health and safety standards are being followed. These records are available to the public.

They can be found on each provider’s record by searching OCCL.

Also, you can return to the Home page and search “Looking in Delaware.”

Quality Improvement System (QIS)

Delaware Stars for Early Success Quality Improvement System (QIS) is a voluntary program used to measure, improve and communicate the level of quality in early care and education and school-age settings.

The revision of the early childhood quality improvement system (QIS), led by the state revision team, resumed fall of 2022. Consistent with legislated requirements, the state is adopting a single set of quality indicators for licensed early childhood programs in Delaware.

Delaware’s revised Quality Improvement System (QIS) includes three Quality Indicators that represent broad content areas. Each Quality Indicator includes a set of Key Practices that help to define the Quality Indicator. Quality Indicators and Key Practices for both early childhood center-based programs and family child care programs have been finalized and can be viewed at QIS Revision Update – Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood (udel.edu) Pathways to support and guide programs in meeting each Key Practice will be coming soon.


Accreditation is another way a child care provider communicates the quality of their program. In order to become accredited by an agency child care providers are evaluated according to the agency’s set of rules. Some child care providers in Delaware are accredited by the following agencies. Visit their websites for more information on the rules and process for becoming accredited.

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.