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A child care centers is an out-of-home provider that can operate as a private or public, profit or non-profit facility and may be owned by a chain, an individual, church, public school, or a government agency in which care is provided at any one time for seven or more children unrelated to the operator.

A child care center is normally divided into groups or classrooms that are aged based and should offer child care services for part or all of any day, at least 2 times a week.  A family may choose to enroll their child into a child care center because they are looking for a more classroom structured environment, or more opportunities for social interactions with other children the same age, or a variety of activities, or prefer a greater number of adults watching their child.


MOST child care centers are regulated and licensed by Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS). Licensed centers are required to follow a set of basic health and safety requirements, and they are monitored to make sure they are following the requirements.  But not all child care centers are licensed.  

No child care setting is better than the other. It is important for a parent to explore each type of child care and take into consideration the child’s needs.  If you are unsure if the facility that you are looking to enroll your child at is a licensed provider, please contact our office for assistance. 

General Requirements:

  • A valid certificate of compliance to operate at a specific location that is issued by the DHS prior to beginning operations and inspected at least once every 12 months by DHS based on health and safety requirements.

  • Mandatory participation in Keystone STARS

  • Should not exceed the maximum number of child capacity established by the DHS.

  • Opportunities for parents to participate in the facility’s program.

  • Should also have the minimum staff-child ratios for all facilities to make sure that ALL children get the care they need. 

  • All staff are 18 years of age or older. 

  • Have comprehensive general liability insurance to cover the persons who are on the premises.

  • Have an emergency plan.

Some Questions that you may want to ask a provider...

Is there space for my child?

This is an important first question.  If it is at capacity, you might ask about a waiting list. 

What are your hours of operation?

Hours vary by facility. When choosing a daycare, look at how long you'll need from the time you leave work to arrive at the center. It is also a good idea to ask what happens if you are late: How is care provided for your child? Are there extra fees?

It is important to find a childcare situation suitable for your hours. This might involve choosing a center that can accommodate your schedule, or "piecing together" care; for example, perhaps you hire a babysitter to pick your child up from the center once it closes and provide care until you return home.

Are there other cost that are not part of tuition? 

Also, ask about any additional fees you might have to pay, such as money for new supplies.

It is important to know exactly what you'll be paying for upfront. Some centers offer discounted rates for certain employers, or if you enroll more than one child, so it is worthwhile to ask.


What is the daily program?


What is your policy on discipline? Techniques?


Are there opportunities for parent involvement? 


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