Press Releases

Some States's Regulations Don't Protect Children in Home Care Settings

January 21, 2008

NACCRRA's New Report Ranks and Scores States Based on Current Family Child Care Standards and Oversight Policies

Fifteen States Received a Score of Zero

ARLINGTON, VA - The National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) released its newest report today, ranking states on their current family child care standards and oversight policies. The report, entitled Leaving Children to Chance: NACCRRA's Ranking of State Standards and Oversight of Small Family Child Care Homes, reveals that many states fail to protect the health, safety, and well-being of children. According to the report, only one state is meeting 75 percent of the basic requirements needed to ensure that children are in care that safeguards their health and safety and promotes development and learning.

The report ranks every state, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense (DoD) child care system, on 14 different standards focused on ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of children while in home-based child care programs serving six or fewer children. States were ranked based on a point system with states earning a possible 140 points - 10 points for each standard examined. (Scores were adjusted if states allowed more than six children in care before applying any regulations). Standards included: frequency and type of monitoring visits; requirement of background checks, provider education, provider training, parent-provider communication/education, quality of learning environment; availability of learning activities and literacy opportunities; group size limitations; and health and safety requirements.

"The average score was a 59 and 15 states scored a zero on our score card, which means most states are not doing nearly enough to make sure that our children in family child care are safe and healthy," said Linda K. Smith, Executive Director of NACCRRA. "These are really small businesses being run out of homes. With the security of nearly 2 million children at risk, it is crucial that states revisit and improve their regulations, to guarantee children are safe and learning in family child care, and that their parents can enjoy peace of mind."

Fifteen states received a score of zero on the scorecard because they either do not regulate small family child care homes, do not conduct an inspection prior to issuing a license, or allow more than six children in care before applying any state regulations. In 41 states, a child care provider can care for an unrelated child for pay in her home without licensing - which means he/she is conducting a business without a license and could be failing to meet health codes or have no training to do the job. And only 24 states and the DoD conduct criminal background checks of family child care providers using federal fingerprinting - which means potentially, convicted felons could be working with small children.

Of all the states scored and ranked, including the District of Columbia and the DoD, only one (Oklahoma) received at least 75 percent of the maximum points allowed. The top 10 were: Oklahoma (105); Washington State (103); Massachusetts (101); the DoD (95); Alabama (93); District of Columbia (87); Maryland (85); South Carolina (80); Colorado (76); and Connecticut (69).

States with a score of zero included: Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Care offered in a family child care home is one of the largest segments of the child care industry. Nearly 2 million children are in some type of family child care setting each week. With children of working mothers spending an average of 36 hours per week in some type of child care setting, including family child care homes, it is imperative that regulations and policies are in place to protect their safety and encourage their development and growth.

To ensure children's safety, NACCRRA recommends that Congress require all adult child care providers who care for one or more unrelated children on a regular basis for pay to undergo a comprehensive background check that includes fingerprinting and a check of the sex offender and child abuse registries. Additionally, NACCRAA calls on Congress to grant the Child Care Bureau the authority to assess state child care plans for content and compliance and withhold funds from states with insufficient policies and oversight. NACCRRA also recommends Congress increase Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) subsidy funds and set aside a specific percent to regulate and monitor all forms of child care and require providers receiving CCDBG funds to be inspected to ensure compliance with basic health and safety practices.

The Child Care Bureau administers CCDBG funding, which is the primary federal funding source for child care in the United States. It provides $11 billion in funds for quality investments and subsidies, and each state determines how the funds will be used within broad federal parameters. In order to receive funds from CCDBG, states must have policies in place designed to protect the health and safety of children. The federal government must do more to ensure states do what is necessary to protect children.

To download a copy of the full report, visit