Types of Early Care and Education Programs

CCR&R Specialists know what types of early care and education programs are available and why families may choose the various kinds of care.


Center Based Care

Child care centers that must be either licensed by the state or exempt from licensing. Although licensing does not ensure quality, it does set minimum health, safety and training standards that centers must maintain.

Families may choose center based care because they believe that a larger setting, several caregivers and state inspections make programs safer for their children. They may also believe that more staff, space, equipment, toys and structured activities provide a better learning environment for their children.


Family Child Care

Providers that offer care for children in their home. In St. Lucie County, family child care homes are either registered or licensed and only licensed homes are inspected prior to receiving a license.

Families sometimes choose a family child care home because they prefer a home environment for their child. They prefer relating to a single caregiver and believe children are healthier, happier and more secure in a smaller group. Sometimes they choose family child care because it is closer to home, less expensive or has flexible hours.


In-home Caregivers

Care for children in the child’s home. They include live-in and live-out nannies and are unregulated. Families may choose in-home care because they believe their children will be safer and more secure in their own home. They also believe they may have more control over the quality of care their children receive. If there are several children in the family needing care, they may find this type of care is no more expensive than other care and is more convenient for them.
Relative Care

A grandparent, aunt, uncle or other relative and is provided in either the child’s or the relative’s home.

Families who use relative care may believe their relatives will provide warmer, more loving care for their child. They feel more comfortable leaving a young baby with a relative and sometimes use this type of care when finances, schedules or transportation conflicts limit other options.


School-Age Care

Care provided for children ages five through twelve and may be located in a school, center, family child care home, church, or community/recreation program. Group size and the number of children per adult may range from 10 to 25 or more children, depending on the type of program. Standards vary due to variations in regulations. School-age extended care located at schools or churches are generally not required to be licensed.
Informal Care

Childcare that takes place in a caregiver’s home. One adult cares for children from one family. This type of care has no state guidelines or inspections.


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