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Professional Licensed Child Care VS. Unlicensed Child Care

on February 17, 2014

Professional Licensed Child Care Center VS Unlicensed In Home Babysitting

 I listened to a very disturbing news report today, A woman who babysits out of her home was recently arrested for drugging the children in her care with Benadryl to keep them quiet.
I was frankly appalled, but, not shocked,  all too often you hear on the news about an in home unregulated provider doing something outrageous. Whether it is allowing a person to watch the children that has a criminal record, leaving children unattended or even worse.
In today’s economic times it seems as if any person who has ever babysat a child or who has given birth is advertising that they provide low cost daycare in their home.

The never ending debate between choosing Child Care Center based child care or In Home child care. What is the right choice? This is really a personal choice.

Below find the definitions of the types of care:

  • Child Care Center: A child care facility in which seven or more children who are not related to the operator receive child care. A child care center must have a certificate of compliance (“license”) from the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) in order to legally operate.
  • Group Child Care Home: A child care facility in which seven through 12 children of various ages or in which seven through 15 children from 4th grade through 15 years of age who are not related to the operator receive child care. A group child care home must have a certificate of compliance (“license”) from DPW in order to legally operate.
  • Family Child Care Home: A child care facility located in a home in which four, five, or six children who are not related to the caregiver receive child care. A family child care home must have a certificate of registration from DPW in order to legally operate.

Child Care Centers in Pennsylvania are subject to state regulations and annual inspections as well as additional trainings every year. In Home care is not subject to any regulation until the in home provider reaches 4 children in their care not including their own. Once an in home care provider reaches 4 children then they must be registered with the Department of Public Welfare and then they are regulated. A Family Child Care Home is Inspected every 2 years.

Child Care Facilities are set up exclusively for the care and education of children. Safety and Education are the top priority.

A home is, well, just that a home. A place a family lives.

Child Care Facility Staff have been trained and educated in caring for and educating children.

In Home providers do get some training if they are running legally.
Most “Stay At Home Moms” do not have the required training.

How many times have you seen an ad for a stay at home mom willing to babysit?

The questions you need to ask are:

  • What sort of education does this provider have?
  • Is there a learning program?
  • How can you be assured your child will not be just sat in front of the television?
  • Will your baby be put in the same room as older children?
  • How does this person discipline children?
  • Does this person have the proper insurance in case your child gets hurt?
  • Is this person certified in CPR and First Aid?
  • Is the outdoor play space safe?
  • Is the primary indoor area safe?
  • Has this person had a Criminal Background check or Child Abuse Clearances?
  • Is there any other individuals who will be in contact with your child during the day?
  • Do those people have Criminal Background checks or Child Abuse Clearances?
  • What happens when the provider gets sick or has a family emergency?
  • What are you supposed to do when they are not available?

Fortunately, by enrolling in a good quality professionally run and licensed child care center your child will be safe, educated and cared for. No center is perfect, but, they are held to a high set of standards that In Home babysitters are not.


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