Healthy Child Care

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State-Specific Resources and Licensing Laws

More than half of children ages zero to five in the U.S. spend significant time in non-parental child care, making child care a crucial part of the healthy development of children. The Public Health Law Center has developed a 50-state analysis of child care licensing laws, using this protocol, for easy review by health advocates and policy makers.

Every state regulates child care settings and establishes health and safety protections for children receiving non-parental care in some manner. Although the regulations vary by state and type of care, most states require a license for child care centers and family child care homes. Afterschool programs and informal care providers (family, friends, neighbors, etc.) are often exempted from these regulations. Click on your state to learn more.