You want to find a child care program that will provide the very best care for your child. Here are some basic quality indicators that you should look for:
Health and Safety. Licensed programs (both centers and homes) are required to meet the state’s health and safety standards. In Washoe County, you can check providers’ compliance with licensing requirements online. In other Nevada counties, contact the Nevada Bureau of Child Care Licensing.
Group Sizes. Some children do quite well in a large group setting, while others need the quiet and comfort of a smaller group. You should look for an environment that most closely matches your child’s personality and needs. In Nevada, there is no group size limit or requirement. Therefore, there can be a large group of children as long has the provider has the required ratio.
Ratios. The younger the child, the more one-on-one care he/she may need. Find out what the child/adult ratio is in each child care facility you visit.
- Ratio & Caregiver Requirement Fact Sheet – English
- Ratio & Caregiver Requirement Fact Sheet – Spanish
Caregiver Education and Turnover. An important indicator of quality is the child care provider’s level of education and continuing professional development. In addition, low staff turnover provides consistency of care for children, which is important for children’s socio emotional development.
Accreditation. Programs that achieve accreditation have met and comply with national standards that are higher than Nevada’s minimum state regulations. The State of Nevada recognizes 6 National Accreditation Agencies which are listed on our Improving Your Quality of Care page.
Parents are welcome to observe, discuss policies, make suggestions, and volunteer in the classroom. Close communication between parents and staff is vital. Staff should discuss highlights in children’s daily experiences with parents and show respect for families of varying cultures and backgrounds.
Download our entire Quality Child Care Brochure that includes a helpful Child Care Checklist.
Quality Child Care Occurs in Various Settings
One type of care is not better than another. Different care settings might meet your family’s and/or child’s needs more effectively at one time or another.
Licensed Child Care
Child Care Centers often care for children in age groups. Nevada requires centers to be licensed. Licensing does not ensure quality but it does set minimum health, safety and caregiver training standards which centers must maintain.
Group Family Child Care Homes generally offer care in the providers’ residence. Often the home has a specific area to conduct child care and has been approved to accommodate several children (up to 12). In Nevada, providers must be licensed if they care for more than 4 unrelated children; however, in Washoe County, providers must be licensed if they care for more than 1 unrelated child.
Family Child Care Homes offer care in the providers’ home. Family child care providers can care for up to 6 children. Some family child care providers also receive approval to care for 3 additional school-age children. In Nevada, providers must be licensed if they care for more than 4 unrelated children; however, in Washoe County, providers must be licensed if they care for more than 1 unrelated child.
Licensed Exempt Child Care
Recreation (Rec) Programs or Camps care for children in groups. Nevada does not require that rec programs or camps be licensed. This type of care is generally used for school-age children for short periods of time (e.g., summer care, holiday care, before and after school).
Family, Friend & Neighbor (FFN) Care is often called “Kith and Kin” care and can take place in the caregiver’s home or in the child’s home. Nevada requires FFN caregivers receiving child care subsidy payments to have health and safety training and background checks at the parents’ request.
Nannies or In-home Caregivers are considered household employees and parents would be required to do an individual search for this type of care. Nevada does not regulate in-home caregivers.
See our Child Care Options Comparison Table for more information on child care setting benefits and considerations.