In today's society, a majority of parents with young children are working outside the home full time. Many parents prefer family child care because of the home-like setting, small group size, individual attention and caregiver consistency.
Family child care, also known as in-home child care, is offered by an individual in a home setting. Most often care is provided in the provider's own home, although some states do not require family child care centers to be located in a residence.
Family child care programs generally care for a smaller number of children than group centers, however the total number of children allowed varies from state to state. In Wisconsin, family child care providers may care for no more than eight children total, including the provider’s own children under seven years old.
Family child care providers are not babysitters! Quality family child care providers are much more; they pour their hearts and souls into their program, take pride in their business, remain at the leading edge of their profession, and constantly look for ways to improve. They choose family child care as a career because they love children and want to provide the good start in life that all children deserve.
There are many reasons why parents choose family child care over a group center. Here are just a few – in no particular order:
- Environment: The familiar home-based environment provides an easy transition from a child's own home to child care. Instead of an institutional “school” type setting, children spend their day in the warmth and comfort of a home away from home.
- Attachment: Family child care programs are traditionally run by a single provider who cares for each child from infancy through school-age. Children in group centers are often cared for by several different caregivers every day and experience an overall lack of consistency due to high turnover rates.
- Mixed Ages: Children in a family child care center benefit from the mixed-age group. Siblings can be together all day, while children without siblings can experience the joys of having older and younger "brothers and sisters."
- Low Group Size: Family child care programs generally care for small groups of children, which provides a calmer atmosphere and allows for each child to receive lots of individualized attention from the provider. In addition, a small group size decreases potential exposure to germs and illness.
- Convenience: Although quality care is worth driving across town for, many parents find good family child care near their homes. Some family child care programs offer flexible scheduling options like second or third shift, overnight, and weekend care.
- Support: Family child care providers can be a great source of support for enrolled families. Many families find that their family child care provider and her family become extended family over the years.
Regulations vary from state to state. Some states allow unregulated care while others require regulation for anyone who cares for a non-related child. Check with your state's division of children and families to see what the requirements are in your area.
Wisconsin offers two types of regulation for family child care centers:
- State Licensing is required for providers who care for four or more children under the age of seven that are not related to the provider.
- County Certification is a voluntary form of regulation for family child care centers that are not required to be licensed but wish to enroll families who receive child care subsidies.
Regulated family child care providers who follow state guidelines offer loving care without sacrificing the qualify of their programs. They know their programs really are serving children’s best interests.
Finding the perfect family child care provider for your family may seem like a difficult task, but don't worry, there are plenty of great programs to choose from, and your child is worth the effort!
Most states have a Child Care Resource and Referral agency to help families find child care that meets their needs. You may also be able to find potential family child care programs through your state child care licensing bureau or through an online search.
"The amount of care given was above and beyond a typical daycare provider; Amy had a genuine care and love for our children." ~ Mark & Taya
Now that you know the benefits of family child care, discover why Amy & Kids Co. may be the perfect choice for your family.
This is the story of how I accidentally fell in love with family child care and turned an in-between job into a fulfilling career.