A successful child care center depends on a number of factors. Putting practices and resources into place to strengthen your program structure is one way to increase your chances of success. The topics below can help you think about how to do this in your program.

  • QRIS and National Accreditation

    Some states have a quality rating and improvement system (QRIS). Child care programs earn ratings when they meet certain quality standards. Programs earn higher ratings as they meet more quality standards. In some states, QRIS is mandatory for licensed child care providers or for programs that receive state subsidies. Learn more about your state’s QRIS by clicking on the State by State Resource Map. Your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency also can help you connect to your state’s QRIS.

    Some child care programs reach higher standards by becoming accredited by a national accrediting body. Achieving accreditation is a voluntary process for child care providers. Programs that choose to become accredited have to show they meet requirements above and beyond state licensing requirements. The main accrediting body for licensed child care centers is the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Some other national organizations that accredit centers include the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA), the National Accreditation Commission (NAC), and Cognia.

    QRIS and National Accreditation
  • Health and Nutrition Practices

    There are a number of things you can do to help children receive healthy and nutritious food throughout the day and instill quality health practices in your child care program. The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a voluntary program that helps qualified child care providers serve healthy and nutritious meals and snacks for children in their care. CACFP reimburses child care providers for a portion of the costs for eligible meals and snacks served, depending on the income status of the families.

    In addition to CACFP, there are other health and nutrition practices that you will want to implement. Practices such as record keeping, special infant and toddler feeding practices, proper handwashing, diapering and toileting procedures are all important elements of a high-quality program. Many of these practices may be required by your state licensing agency.

    Health and Nutrition
  • Supervision and Safety Practices

    Supervision and safety practices are some of the most important features of your program. Not only do these practices keep children safe, but it also helps you provide higher quality care. Many of these practices may be required by your state licensing agency. When programs are properly staffed and when staff actively supervise children at all times, the more likely staff are able to engage in warm and responsive interactions with children.

    Safety and Supervision
  • Staffing Practices

    Not only is it important to have an adequate number of staff members for your program, but it also is important to have staff that has an early education background and experience working with young children. Use the resource below to help you think about what type of training and education you and your staff may need to operate a high-quality child care program. Keep in mind that some of these practices may be required by your state licensing agency.

    Staff Qualifications
  • Child Care Policies and Procedures

    Your child care policies and procedures will help you communicate your expectations to both your parents and staff. These policies will help you when questions arise. Some of these policies and procedures may be required by your state licensing agency.

    Policies and Procedures

For the best results, be sure to download and save the resources provided above. Doing so will allow you to complete the forms from your computer or mobile device.

These resources and more are also available in our Child Care Center Resources E-Book.