What is the purpose of the program?
The purpose of the Child Care Regulation program is to ensure a healthy and safe environment for children in child care settings and to improve the quality of care through regulation and consultation. The program ensures that licensing requirements are met through on-going inspections of child care facilities and homes, thereby preventing the continued operation of substandard child care programs.
What types of child care providers are regulated?
The program regulates licensed child care facilities, licensed family day care homes, licensed large family child care homes, and licensed facilities for the mildly ill. The program also registers family day care homes that operate in areas that do not require licensure.
What are the program's responsibilities?
Child Care Regulation has two primary
- Licensing and Regulation. The program is responsible for the health, safety, and well-being of children in the care of licensed facilities, family day care homes, and exempt childcare arrangements. The program is currently responsible for the inspection and licensure of child care facilities and homes in 62 out of 67 counties. The other five counties (Broward, Hillsborough, Palm Beach, Pinellas, and Sarasota) have elected to regulate licensing of child care facilities and homes at the county level as provided in s. 402.306, Florida Statutes. In addition, the Department of Children and Families uses the statewide screening database, known as The Clearinghouse, which provides a single data source administered by the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) for background screening results for persons screened for employment or licensure that provide services to children. As part of its regulatory responsibilities, the program conducts on-going inspections of child care facilities and homes, thus preventing the continued operation of substandard child care programs. The program also registers family day care homes that are not required to be licensed or inspected. Registered family day care homes are required to annually submit information to the department, such as the number of children in care, proof of screening and background checks, training completion, and proof that immunization records are current. Registration in 15 counties (Brevard, Broward, Clay, Duval, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Nassau, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, and Saint Johns) is not permitted as they have local ordinances requiring licensure.
- Training. The program is responsible for training child care provider staff. Statutory required training is offered online and in classroom settings to child care personnel who must successfully pass competency exams to be employed in the child care industry. All child care facility personnel must complete and pass a department approved competency exam for the 40-hour introductory training program. Elements of the training program include child care facility rules and regulations; health safety and nutrition; and identifying child abuse and neglect. Following the completion of this 40-hour training, facility personnel must also complete literacy training, fire extinguisher training, and a minimum of 10 hours of in-service training. The department has prioritized trauma-informed training and is working with child care providers within Florida to increase this capacity among providers.
How many inspections are performed?
In Fiscal Year 2021-22, program staff conducted 21,286 onsite inspections of child care facilities and homes and 998 complaint investigations; 99.5% of child care facilities and 99.8% of child care homes met program standards.
How many provider staff received training?
InFiscal Year 2021-22, the program provided training to 50,581 child care staff in instructor-led courses, 164,784 child care staff in online courses, and administered 754,844 competency exams.
How are these activities funded?
The Child Care Regulation program is funded as part of the Family Safety Program budget entity.
Pursuant to Ch. 402, Florida Statutes, the Office of Child Care Regulation is now within the Office of Quality and Innovation.
Child Care Licensing Provisions. The 2023 Legislature enacted Ch. 2023-249, Laws of Florida, which created a new child care licensing provision requiring the Department of Children and Families to issue a provisional license of registration for family child care homes licensed under ss. 402.313 or 402.3131, Florida Statutes, or child care facility licensed under s. 402.305, Florida Statutes. Additionally, the law provides requirements for applicants for initial license or registration.
Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?
A complete list of related OPPAGA reports is available on our website
Where can I get more information?
Selected Administrative Activities and Child Care Provider Regulation Prior Audit Follow-Up. Report No. 2021-082, December 2020
The Auditor General reports on department operations are available on its website
Office of Child Care Should Strengthen Its Oversight and Monitoring of Program-Integrity Risks, U.S. Government Accountability Office, GAO-20-227, April 2020
Most State Offer Preschool Program and Rely on Multiple Funding Sources, U.S. Government Accountability Office, GAO-19-375, May 2019
State Child Care Actions in Response to COVID-19, Hunt Institute, March 2020
Trends in Child Care Center Licensing Regulations and Policies, National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance, March 2020
State Early Childhood Data Systems, Child Trends, The Early Childhood Data Collaborative, September 2018
Websites of Interest
National Database of Child Care Licensing Regulations
Division of Early Learning, Gold Seal Quality Care Program
Department of Children and Families, Provider Search
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child Care Technical Assistance
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child Care
Child Care and Early Education Research Connections
Early Childhood Data Collaborative
National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education
Performance measures and standards for the department may be found in its Long Range Program Plan. Planning and Performance Measures report the department's performance on external and internal measures for its various programs. The measures allow the user to view performance at both a statewide and geographic region level.
What are the applicable statutes?
Whom do I contact for help?
Child Care Program Office, 850-488-4900
Child Care Training and Credentialing Information, 1-888-352-2842
Background Screening Information Center, 1-888-352-2849