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Child care settings play a fundamental role in supporting the development of healthy children. Over half of all children between the ages of zero and five spend significant time in non-parental child care, positioning this setting to have a profound and long-lasting impact on a child’s health, learning, and long-term success. There are important opportunities to take meaningful action to decrease rates of chronic disease and obesity and support the growth of healthy children. The results can contribute to building a community where children and families can thrive.
The Public Health Law Center has done extensive work in the child care setting. Check out our resources below and in the sidebar.
50 State Review – Healthy Eating, Active Play, Screen Time Best Practices
This interactive map compares scientifically-based best practices with states’ child care licensing regulations on healthy eating, active play and screen time limits. Click through the child care settings and best practices to see states change colors based on whether they meet best practices.
Note: this analysis focuses on the content of the regulations. It does not address implementation or how regulations do or do not specifically take into account the priorities of providers and children from socially disadvantaged and marginalized groups.
State-Specific Resources and Licensing Laws
Each state regulates the child care setting differently, depending on the type of child care facility and provider. The Public Health Law Center has developed a 50-state analysis of child care licensing laws, including state statutes and licensing regulations. Using this protocol, we have compiled and highlighted the laws in each state for easy review by advocates and policy makers. Click on each state to see child care licensing laws and other state-specific resources.
Healthy Child Care Local Authority
Regulatory standards play a critical role in establishing norms and important baseline protections for the health and safety of children receiving non-parental care. Recent studies found that state regulations generally do not provide adequate nutrition or physical activity standards. Local governments represent untapped potential for improving child care nutrition and physical activity standards where states have failed to do so.