Types of Child Care

Types of Child Care

Depending on your preferences and your child’s personality, there are several different kinds of environments you can choose for quality child care, preschool, and school-age care. Each has its own requirements for licensing or regulation. Costs also can vary depending on the environment, so you may also take that into consideration as you determine how to pay for care. Consider each carefully based on where you feel your child will be most comfortable.

Licensed Centers

Provide care in a commercial building and must meet Indiana’s state licensing regulations. All staff must have a minimum of a high school diploma or GED, and lead teachers must have early childhood related credentials or degrees.

Licensed Homes

Provide care in a residential setting for more than five unrelated children. They must meet Indiana’s state licensing requirements. All staff must have a minimum of a high school diploma or GED, and the owner must agree to complete a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential or accredited degree within three years of the licensing date.

Unlicensed Registered Child Care Ministries

Provide care in a facility operated by a religious organization. Ministries may participate in a Voluntary Certification Program (VCP), which demonstrates they meet health, safety, nutrition, and infant and toddler rules.

School-aged Providers

Typically care for children ages 5-13 during before-and after-school hours and/or through some breaks and holidays. These programs may operate alongside other early childhood programs, other public or private schools, or stand alone. Requirements vary depending on program type.

The following types of care are unregulated or exempt from licensure. For more guidance about these types of care, contact us at 1-800-272-2937.

Home (Legally Licensed-Exempt)

Provide care in a residential setting for five or fewer children who are unrelated to the provider. These programs are not required to be licensed by the state, although they can be certified to accept CCDF vouchers if they meet eligibility standards.

Child Care within a School

Early childhood care affiliated with a public or private school. These programs are not regulated by the state but may follow guidelines associated with their individual school districts. Programs may voluntarily choose to be a part of programs such as Paths to QUALITY™, which require certain criteria for participation.

Preschools (Legally Licensed-Exempt)

Provides an age-appropriate written curriculum for children at least 30 months of age who are not eligible to enter kindergarten. Children do not attend more than four hours per day, meals are not served, and staff ratios are no more than 15:1 per staff member ages 18 or older.

Child Care in your home

May be provided to five or fewer children through a nanny, au pair, or other caregiver.  This type of care is not regulated and requires special considerations as a parent. You may wish to run a background screening to check potential in-home caregivers for substantiated child abuse complaints or criminal offenses. You are considered the employer of the in-home caregiver, which has legal and financial implications and obligations. You may wish to consult professionals such as attorneys, tax specialists, or the IRS for additional support.