When you're searching for child care, you most likely want to find a program that's convenient, open when you need it, and within your budget. But most importantly, you want a child care program that ensures your child is safe, healthy and learning.

For more information and tips on choosing a quality child care center, please visit How to Choose Child Care provided by Arkansas Better Beginnings.

Types of Child Care:

Family Child Care Homes: Family home providers care for children in the provider’s home or other suitable family type of residence. Some parents choose family child care homes because they want to keep their children in a home-like environment, want to relate to a single caregiver, and believe their children will be happier and more secure in a smaller group. There are two types of Family Homes:

  • Voluntary Registered Child Care Family Homes: These homes are voluntarily registered to care for five or fewer children and receive periodic unannounced monitoring visits. In Arkansas, family child care homes caring for fewer than six children are not required to be licensed.
  • Licensed Child Care Family Homes: A license is required for any home caring for six or more children from more than one family. A licensed home can have a maximum capacity of sixteen children if there is sufficient usable indoor space available to the children. Homes providing care to eleven or more children are required to have health and fire department approval. Minimum licensing requires that all caregivers have a criminal background check and that homes maintain an open door policy to families.

Child Care Centers: Families who choose a child care center usually feel that more staff, space and equipment provide a better learning environment and more secure environment for their child.  Many child care programs have children grouped according to ages so that activities can be designed to meet the developmental needs of that specific age group. The child care center must meet all essential standards necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the children. Essential standards include but are not limited to those relating to issues involving fire, health, safety, nutrition, discipline, staff/child ratio and space. Licensed facilities are inspected one to three times annually, depending on the type of program. These visits are unannounced.

School Age Programs: School-age care includes all the care programs offered before school, after school and during holiday and summer break. For many families, there is a gap between the time school ends and the time work ends. School-age care fills this gap by creating available care for all school-age children.

Other helpful tools:

The following was developed by Child Care Aware® of America, partially funded from Grant #90LH002 from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Child Care (OCC) | ©2017 Child Care Aware® of America.

Starting Your Child Care Search brings you through the steps to take when you’re looking for child care. You’ll get helpful information on where to look, what to look for and what to do after you’ve made your decision.

Selecting a Child Care Program goes in-depth to show you what a quality program should look like. You’ll learn about indicators of quality that you can look for as you visit potential child care programs. You’ll also get another list of questions that you can ask each child care provider to learn more about their program and how they’ll care for your child.

Child Care Quality Ratings are used in Arkansas. A Quality Rating and Improvement System, or QRIS, often will use symbols (such as stars) to indicate levels of quality in child care programs. Families can use these QRIS ratings to identify quality child care. Learn more about QRIS and how to get information on child care quality ratings where you live.

Who Regulates Child Care? walks you through what to look for when reviewing a child care program’s written policies. You’ll also learn what information should be included in a child care contract between you and your child care provider. Written policies are important to make sure you understand and agree with the way that your child will be cared for when you are not with them.

Child Care Center Checklist allows you to click on different categories to learn about what you should look for and ask when you visit a Child Care Center.

Finding child care is a big decision, and it can be overwhelming. If you’d like to talk about your options or learn more about how to choose quality child care, contact us! You can give us a call at 1(501) 760-6586, or you can email us at childcare.aware@np.edu.