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For up-to-date information, including a list of Emergency Child Care Sites for Essential Workers, please visit the COVID-19 child care site or contact the Office of Early Learning.
Office of Child Care Licensing (OCCL) website has everything you need to know about licensed child care in Delaware. In Delaware, a license is needed when payment is received for care of any non-related child outside of their home while the parent is not present.
Types of Licensed Child Care
Family child care takes place in a licensed home. Up to 9 children can be cared for at one time. The number of children allowed depends on: 1) the ages of the children present at any given time; and 2) the provider’s level (Level I or Level II) as determined by their training and experience. The number of children in care can vary from 1 to 6 infants through preschool-aged children and 1 to 3 school aged children.
Large family child care is offered in a licensed home or business location. The number of children allowed depends on the ages of the children present at any given time. It can vary from 7 to 12 infants through preschool-aged children and 1 to 3 school aged children. Depending on the number of children and their ages there needs to be one to three staff members.
Child Care Centers are in a business location and serve 13 or more children. This type of care includes child care centers, preschools, and before/after school care. Centers are licensed for a total number of children. Staff to child ratios and maximum group size must be maintained based on the youngest child present in the group. Ages served, philosophy, curriculum, costs, and services can vary from one center to another.
For more information on the DELACARE regulations and resources specific to each type of care, visit the “Regulations and Exemption” section on the OCCL website.
Anyone who wants to become a licensed provider must go through a process of training and submitting documentation to OCCL, including but not limited to:
The Office of Child Care Licensing (OCCL) visits all licensed family child care homes (FCC), large family child care homes (LFCC), and early care and education and school age centers (Centers) to determine if they are following all Delaware’s licensing regulations.
Facility visits happen prior to becoming licensed, annually and on an as needed bases. The types of visits are as follows:
Announced Visit- At this time only pre-licensing visits are scheduled. As of December 31, 2015, OCCL made all other visits unannounced.
Unannounced Visit- a visit not previously scheduled to determine if the provider is following the regulations.
After a full compliance review is completed, the areas where the provider is not following the regulations (non-compliances) are written up and a time-sensitive action plan to correct them is made. One of the following licenses is mailed to the provider based on the visit:
Standards investigations (or complaint visits) are a visit that happens when a complaint is made to OCCL. All complaints of possible violations of the regulations must be investigated. The result of the investigation is posted on OCCL’s website for each provider. The outcome of the investigation will be communicated in one of the following three ways:
There are some exceptions to the rules…
Some child cares that do not need a license. These Exempt types of programs should apply for an Exemption Letter from the Office of Child Care Licensing (OCCL).
Child care providers that do not need a license include;