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Virginia Child Care Plan

The Virginia Child Care Plan provides detailed information about how Virginia currently meets or intends to meet federal requirements in eight areas:

  • CCDF Leadership & Coordination with Relevant Systems
  • Family Engagement through Outreach & Consumer Education
  • Stable Child Care Financial Assistance to Families
  • Equal Access to High Quality Child Care for Low-Income Children
  • Standards & Monitoring Processes to Ensure the Health & Safety of Care Settings
  • Qualified & Effective Child Care Workforce
  • Continuous Quality Improvement
  • Grantee Accountability

Click the following links to access Virginia’s approved Child Care Plan and the federal approval letter.

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Types of Child Care in Virginia

A child day care program in Virginia refers to a regularly operating service arrangement for children where, during the absence of a parent or guardian, a person or organization has agreed to assume responsibility for the supervision, protection and well-being of a child under the age of 13 for less than a 24-hour period.
There are two types of child day programs in Virginia: child day centers (center-based) and family day homes (family-based).
Categories of care include:

  • Licensed
  • Unlicensed (but regulated)
  • Approved
  • Unlicensed and unregistered

Although, choosing a licensed provider is strongly encouraged, not all programs require licensure. If you are unsure about the type of care you are receiving, ask your provider if they are licensed by the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS). Licensed programs are required to display their license certificate. Look for this license certificate to be visibly displayed near the entrance.

Educating yourself on available care options, and knowing what to look for when selecting a program, are essential to your child’s well-being.

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File a Complaint

If you believe a facility or individual providing care has violated applicable child care regulations or you suspect abuse or neglect of children in care, you may report those concerns to the Virginia Department of Social Services.

If you suspect that a facility or individual is providing care illegally (the person should have a license but doesn’t), you may report those concerns as well.  The Department of Social Services has the responsibility to investigate these complaints.

The purpose of reporting a complaint is not just to protect a specific child, but rather to protect all the children in care at that facility. You do not have to know which specific standards have been violated; you can provide a description of the situation and the licensing inspector will determine which, if any, standards or laws have been violated.

Child Care Standards
Licensed Child Day Centers                         
Licensed Family Day Homes
Religious Exempt Child Day Centers        
Family Day Care Systems
Voluntary Registration of Family Day Homes

Complaints may be anonymously submitted in written format or orally.

If you are willing to provide your name and contact information, the licensing inspector will be able to contact you for additional information, if necessary, and to provide information about the results of the complaint investigation after it is complete.

Before filing a complaint, reference the questions listed below and be prepared to provide as much specific information as possible, especially if you are filing anonymously, as the inspector will not be able to ask you any follow-up questions.

  • What happened?
  • Who was involved? Who may have witnessed what happened?
  • When did it happen? Did it happen more than once? How long did it take?
  • Where did it happen?
  • Why did it happen?

How to file a complaint

There are multiple ways you can file a complaint. You can call, submit an online complaint or mail a complaint.

  • Call Licensing’s statewide toll-free number: 1-800-543-7545 (or, in the Richmond area only, 804-692-2394);
  • Contact the appropriate regional licensing office directly by phone, fax, or letter;
  • Submit a written complaint via the online complaint form;
  • Contact by phone the licensing inspector assigned to the facility or home. The inspector’s name and phone number is listed for each child care program on the Search for Child Day Care website; or
  • For complaints regarding possible child abuse or neglect, call the Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline toll free number: 1-800-552-7096 (or, in the Richmond area, 804-786-8536)

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Deaths, Injuries and Abuse in Child Care Settings

The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 directs states to make information available concerning the number of deaths, serious injuries and instances of substantiated child abuse that occur in child care settings each year.

The Virginia Department of Social Services publishes annually a report summarizing child protective services complaints in out-of-family settings which include child care settings. The report shows by locality the number of complaints accepted, the number of founded complaints and the number of unfounded complaints. Click here to access the most recent report.

Beginning October 2016, child care providers participating in the Virginia Child Care Subsidy Program will report to VDSS the number of child deaths and serious injuries that occur in their settings. Prior to October 1, 2016, this information was not routinely reported to VDSS. The most up-to-date information can be found on the Death and Serious Injury Excel Spreadsheet.

Statewide Child Care Disaster Plan

The Statewide Child Care Disaster Plan provides guidance and procedures for ensuring compliance with the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 to ensure a coordinated effort for the continuation of child care programs authorized under the Act during and after a disaster or emergency event.

Click this link to access the Statewide Child Care Disaster Plan

Final Child Care Underserved Areas Workgroup Report

In 2014, the President signed the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014, reauthorizing the federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) that provides states with resources to 1) help low-income parents afford child care while they work or pursue education and training and 2) to enhance the quality of child care for all children. The reauthorization sets forth many new requirements, including the expectation that states have in place strategies to meet the needs of specific target populations: children in underserved areas; infants and toddlers; children with disabilities; and children in need of care during nontraditional hours.

While Virginia has numerous strategies in place, the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) wanted an up-to-date assessment of the current state of child care needs among localities and target populations. To do so, the VDSS Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Development convened a workgroup of stakeholders from across the state to:

  • Evaluate and, to the extent possible, quantify the child care needs of these specific populations in Virginia.
  • Identify potential strategies to increase the supply and quality of child care for these populations.
  • Share ideas and form collaborations to implement selected strategies.

Click this link to access the Final CC Underserved Areas Workgroup Report

Virginia’s Child Care Subsidy Program – Market Rate Survey Report

Virginia conducts a market rate survey before submitting its Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) plan to the federal Department of Health and Human Services for approval. The survey helps the state assess and establish its reimbursement rates for child care providers participating in the Child Care Subsidy Program. Click this link to access the 2018 Market Rate Survey which was completed prior to the implementation of the 2019-2021 Child Care Plan.