The staff you will need for your child care program depends on a variety of factors. Your core team will likely be made up of caregivers and directors.
Center Tip: Child care center owners may need to recruit and hire a director, an assistant director, and caregivers/teachers.
FCC Tip: Family child care programs may need assistant caregivers or a director, depending on the size of the program.
In addition to caregivers/teachers, both types of child care programs may need to hire or contract with other staff who can perform non-caregiving duties such as transportation, maintenance, cleaning, accounting, or other tasks.
- Determine Staff Positions Needed
When determining hiring needs for caregivers in a child care center or family child care home, consider the ages and number of children you would like to enroll, the schedule of care you would like to offer, the number of usable square feet in your program (this will also affect how many children you can care for at one time or in each group), and your state or local area’s requirements for group size and staff to child ratio.
Group size is the maximum number of children you may have in a classroom or group, while staff to child ratio is the number of caregivers needed for a specific number of children. Your state or local licensing regulations will tell you the maximum group size and ratios that your program must follow.
Keep in mind that you may have a maximum number of children allowed in your program, but you may also choose to keep group sizes smaller in order to help you provide responsive and nurturing care.
Center Tip: The following are recommendations* for ratios and group size by age group for a child care center:
*Based on the recommendations from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC); https://www.naeyc.org/sites/default/files/globally-shared/downloads/PDFs/accreditation/early-learning/staff_child_ratio_0.pdf and the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education. CFOC Standards Online Database. Aurora, CO; National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education; 2020. https://nrckids.org/CFOC/database.
FCC Tip: The following are recommendations* for group sizes in a family child care with only one caregiver:
– No more than two children under the age of two present at one time.
– If there are two children under two years old present, no other children are enrolled.
– If there is one child under the age of two present, there may be up to three children ages two and older enrolled.
– If there are no children under the age of two present, there may be up to six children ages two and older enrolled.
*Based on the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education. CFOC Standards Online Database. Aurora, CO; National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education; 2020. https://nrckids.org/CFOC/database.
Even if you are not planning to hire staff for your family child care business, there may be times when you are unable to provide care for children if you are ill, have a family emergency or are on vacation. You will need a qualified substitute to come to your program or a qualified back-up child care program where families can take their children.
In addition to caregiver positions, you may need to hire or contract staff for other day-to-day tasks. For example, determine if you will need a cook, a driver, a custodian or someone to handle maintenance duties for your program. Think about how many hours a week each job would require.
Depending on your skill set or those of your director and teachers, you may also need to hire or contract with a person or people with expertise necessary to run your business. This may include an accountant, a lawyer, a graphic designer or other professionals. Think through all these things and determine if you would need someone to perform full-time, part-time or contract work.
- Decide on Position Qualifications
If you will need to hire staff, check with your local CCR&R to ensure that you know the minimum qualifications for child care staff in your area. Generally, these requirements for staff include:
- Minimum age, usually 18 years
- High school diploma or equivalent
- Initial and ongoing training
Your state may also require child care staff to be certified in infant/child CPR and first aid. You may consider including this in your job descriptions or you may ensure that applicants are willing to become certified before beginning work.
Once you know the minimum qualifications required for caregivers in your area, decide if you would like your staff to have any other qualifications above and beyond the requirements, such as a CDA credential (see below), fluency in a language other than English, etc.
- Staff Training Options and Opportunities
You may want your staff to have or earn additional qualifications in order to work with children. Child Care Aware® of America recommends all child care staff have at least 40 hours of initial training, including CPR, first aid and other basic safety and health training, and training on child development, as well as 24 hours of annual training. You may want to look at training sessions available through your local CCR&R and local colleges/universities if you or your staff are interested in or need to earn additional training hours.
You may also want to think about requiring staff to have a degree or credential in the early childhood field. One option is the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. The CDA is a nationally accepted early childhood credential awarded by the Council for Professional Recognition. There are different options to earn a CDA credential, including taking classes with an instructor or online.