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:
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.
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
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.
There are multiple ways you can file a complaint. You can call, submit an online complaint or mail a complaint.
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.
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
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:
Click this link to access the Final CC Underserved Areas Workgroup 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.