Resources - Standards and Licensing Requirements

Several resources about health and safety and licensing are available on the Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance System website. The following are some highlighted resources that may be helpful to CCDF Administrators.

Looking beyond the Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance System, the following resources can be used by states revising provider requirements:

  • Caring for Our Children Basics: Health and Safety Foundations for Early Care and Education (2013). Caring for our Children Basics represents the minimum health and safety standards experts believe should be in place where children are cared for outside of their homes. Use of Caring for our Children Basics is not a federal requirement. Caring for our Children Basics seeks to reduce conflicts and redundancies found in program standards linked to multiple funding streams. Caring for our Children Basics should not be construed to represent all standards that would need to be present to achieve the highest quality of care and early learning. Standards on the following topics are included: staffing, programs activities for healthy development, health promotion and protection, nutrition and food service, facilities, supplies, equipment, environmental health, play areas and playgrounds, transportation, infectious disease, and policies.

    Caring for our Children Basics is the result of work by federal and nonfederal experts and is based on Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards; Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs, 3rd edition, created by the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, and National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education with funding from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau. The Office of Child Care, Office of Head Start, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Interdepartmental Liaison for Early Childhood, and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau were instrumental in this effort.
  • Stepping Stones to Caring for Our Children, 3rd Edition (2013), by the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, and the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education, presents 138 essential standards intended to reduce the rate of morbidity and mortality in child care and early education settings.
  • Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards; Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs, 3rd edition (2011), by the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, and National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education, is a collection of 686 national standards that represent the best evidence, expertise, and experience in the country on quality health and safety practices and policies.
  • Caring for Our Children Basics Health and Safety Standards Alignment Tool for Child Care Centers and Family Child Care Homes (2017), by the ECQA Center, provides a simple format for state to compare their current early childhood program requirements and standards against the recommended health and safety standards in Caring for Our Children Basics.
  • The CCDF Data Explorer provides state-level data about licensing requirements for health and safety topics that include training requirements, hand washing, diapering, safe sleep practices, firearms, smoking, hazardous materials, emergency preparedness and fire safety, administration of medication, immunizations, and transportation. Additionally, data are available for child-staff ratios and group sizes, criminal background checks, minimum preservice qualifications, ongoing training hours, and types and frequency of routine licensing inspections.
  • The National Database of Child Care Licensing Regulations, by the ECQA Center, is a repository of state and territory licensing regulations and agency contact information. It is organized by state and Territory and allows users to access child care licensing regulations that apply to child care centers, family child care homes, school-age programs, infant care programs, and other specialized programs. In addition, website links are provided for other early childhood programs standards, such as quality rating and improvements system standards, prekindergarten program requirements, and state health and safety requirements for child care providers receiving CCDF payments.
  • The National Program Standards Crosswalk Tool is prepopulated with national early childhood program standards (such as Head Start, accreditation and Caring for Our Children). It is designed to help states that are developing and aligning program standards for licensing, quality rating and improvement systems, or prekindergarten programs to search and compare the content of several sets of national standards.