Child Care as a Profession

More than half of the U.S population consists of working parents with children under the age of 6 and require child care services outside of their home. The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) understands that choosing a safe, quality childcare provider or facility can be an overwhelming task for parents.  VDSS is committed to providing parents with the highest quality child care programs in Virginia, staffed with caring, knowledgeable, nurturing and dedicated individuals. As a child care professional, you can be a part of Virginia’s commitment to providing safe, quality child care!

As a child care professional you most likely work for a child day program. Child day programs are defined as 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 years for less than a 24-hour period.

In Virginia, there are two types of child day programs for which you may work: child day centers (center-based) and family day homes (family-based).

Child Day Centers

Child day centers provide care for (i) two or more children under the age of 13 years in a facility that is not the residence of the provider or of any of the children in care or (ii) 13 or more children at any location.

Family Day Homes

Family day-homes provide care in the residence of the provider or the home of any of the children in care for up to 12 children under the age of 13 years, not including the provider's own children and any children who reside in the home, when at least one child receives care for compensation.

Requirements for Becoming a Child Care Professional

As a child care professional in Virginia, you will be required to meet certain standards to ensure your level of knowledge and competency. Qualifications will vary based on the type of program.

For Licensed Child Day Centers

What educational qualifications are needed to work in a child day center in Virginia?
Qualifications vary for program directors, program leaders, and aides. Program directors can meet one of the following criteria with education in a child-related field:

  • Graduate degree
  • An endorsement or bachelor’s degree
  • College credits: 48 semester hours with 12 being in a child-related field or 72 quarter hours with 18 being in a child-related field
  • Two years of programmatic experience with one year in a supervisory capacity and other advanced educational requirements
  • Three years of programmatic experience with one year in a supervisory capacity and a high school completion or equivalent  

For Licensed Family Day Homes

What educational qualifications are needed to be a family day home provider in Virginia?
Providers are required to have (i) a high school diploma or the equivalent or (ii) evidence of having met the requirements for admission to an accredited college or university.

What are the annual training requirements?
In addition to cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid certification, providers are required to have a minimum of 16 clock hours of training annually in areas relevant to their job responsibilities.

What certifications are required?

  • Current certifications in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid appropriate to the age of children in care are required for providers.
  • Current certification in Medication Administration Training (MAT) is required members for providers that administer prescription and/or non-prescription medications. Click here

For additional requirements read Part III, Personnel and VI, Caregiver Training in the Standards for Licensed Family Day Homes. Click Here

Business Resources

Low Interest Loan Program

The Virginia Small Business Child Care Financing Program (CCFP) is designed to assist Virginia child care providers in obtaining financing for fixed asset needs and educational materials.

Virginia Shared Services Network

The Virginia Shared Services Network is a program of Child Care Aware of Virginia. It’s goal is to assist child care centers and family child care providers to support and strengthen the quality of early learning settings and to improve financial stability.

What are the annual training requirements?
Staff members are required to have a minimum of 16 clock hours of training annually in areas relevant to their job responsibilities.

What certifications are required?
  • Current certifications in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid appropriate to the age of children in care are required for at least one staff member who is on the premises during the center’s hours of operation and also one person on field trips and wherever children are in care.
  • Current certification in Medication Administration Training (MAT) is required for staff members that administer prescription and/or non-prescription medications. Click here

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New Provider Requirements




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Become a Licensed Provider


Become a Licensed Provider

What are the benefits to becoming a licensed provider/program?

As a licensed provider, you have a competitive advantage over unlicensed and unregistered providers. Your licensed program is held to a higher standard that provides accountability to health and safety standards enforced by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Becoming a licensed provider creates opportunities to:

  • Become established as a professional in your field
  • Demonstrate a commitment to providing a safe and healthy environment for children
  • Have an assigned licensing inspector who is available to answer questions and provide technical assistance
  • Receive increased subsidy payments for eligible children in your care
  • Be better prepared to voluntarily participate in Virginia Quality,  the Commonwealth’s child care quality rating and improvement system (QRIS)
  • Be included in a searchable, free listing of your center or family day home on the VDSS and Child Care Aware of Virginia websites and/or referral services
  • Use your licensure status as a marketing tool to solicit and educate prospective parents
  • Influence parents with online health and safety inspection reports
  • Access relevant, up-to-date training and resources
  • Be connected to the front line of federal/state child care news and provider requirements
  • Be eligible to participate in the USDA food program
  • Be proud of the quality child care you are providing to your community

How do I get my program licensed with the state?

Applicants are required to attend the Pre-licensure Orientation-Phase 2 training provided by the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) that includes an overview of the Code of Virginia, regulations, completing the application, licensee responsibilities, inspections/role of the licensing inspector, and program requirements. Applicants are provided with specific information on health and safety standards and required background checks.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the Office of Child Care Licensing in their region or email childcarelicensing@doe.virginia.gov if they have any questions about licensing and the licensing process.

Note: A general business license to operate from the county within which the provider conducts business is not the same as a child day care license obtained from the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS), which holds the child day care provider accountable to the health and safety standards set forth by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Information about Inspections

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) inspects licensed child care programs prior to operation, bi-annually, during program development, and in response to complaints. The bi-annual mandated inspections are unannounced. Licensing inspectors conduct a participant-centered inspection using tools and strategies to help providers understand the extent to which their program is compliant with Virginia regulations.

What should I expect during an inspection visit?

Information regarding inspections is found within the Protocol for Inspections Licensed Child Day Programs.

There are 6 basic components of an inspection:

  1. Entrance Conference – Inspectors introduce themselves briefly, explain the inspection process, and ask for any items needed to conduct the inspection.
  2. Tour – Inspectors walk through the building(s) directly after the entrance conference to observe activities and personal interactions, talk to children and staff, examine the physical plant, and check on general health and hygiene issues.
  3. Interactions and Interviews – Inspectors speak to children, parents (either during or after an inspection), staff members, and interview the program director to gather information on compliance with Standards, especially those relating to care and services to children.
  4. Observations – In order to thoroughly assess compliance with Standards, observations will begin from the moment the inspector drives up to the building until the conclusion of the inspection, when the inspector leaves the property. Inspectors pay special attention to the interactions between staff and children, the execution of the program’s internal policies and procedures, and the learning and recreational activities observed.
  5. Documentation Review – Inspectors conduct a focused examination of child and staff records, key Standards, and information gathered during interviews and observations.
  6. Exit Meeting – Inspectors review the results of the inspection with the provider, listen to and discuss any disputed findings and/or comments about the inspection process, provide consultation, and request a plan of correction for any violations found during the inspections.

INFORMATION ABOUT VIRGINIA’S LICENSED CHILD CARE REGULATIONS

The current rules and regulations for licensed child care programs are found at the links below. Virginia’s licensed programs must meet the standards for their program (family day home or child day center), as well as requirements in General Procedures and Information for Licensure.


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Training & Professional Development




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Licensed Child Day Centers


Licensed Child Day Centers

Child day centers are child day programs offered to (i) two or more children under the age of 13 years in a facility that is not the residence of the provider or of any of the children in care or (ii) 13 or more children at any location. A child day program is 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 years for less than a 24-hour period.

Licensed programs must meet the standards promulgated by the Virginia Board of Education. The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) enforces these standards by inspecting centers at least twice a year and investigating complaints.

Need assistance? Contact your licensing inspector or the Office of Child Care Licensing in your region.


HOW TO BECOME A LICENSED CHILD DAY CENTER (CDC)

  1. Review the Phase I: Pre-Application Training for Child Day Centers (this is highly recommended, but not required)

  2. Review the following information:

  3. Contact the Office of Child Care Licensing in your region to register for the Pre-Licensure Orientation – Phase 2 for Licensed Child Day Centers. In this class, licensing inspectors will focus on the Standards for Licensed Child Day Centers and answer any of your questions.

  4. Create and submit a functional design plan to the licensing office in your region as soon as the location is identified.

  5. Submit a complete application for licensure. All required information, fees and attachments must be included with the application for the licensing office to process your application, including:

    Note: To ensure timely processing, you must submit a complete application to the Office of Child Care Licensing in your region 60 days prior to your planned opening date. Submission of an incomplete application will delay the review process. If you need assistance, contact your licensing inspector.

  6. Prepare for your facility inspection. After you have completed Steps 3-5,  a licensing inspector will contact you to schedule an inspection of your facility.

HOW TO RENEW YOUR LICENSE

To ensure timely processing, you must submit a complete renewal application to the Office of Child Care Licensing in your region at least 60 days prior to the expiration date of the current license. A complete renewal application includes the following forms, required attachments, and the renewal fee. No fee is required for a renewal application following a conditional license.

MODEL FORMS

 


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Become a Licensed Provider




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Licensed Family Day Homes


Licensed Family Day Homes

Family day home care is the most common form of child care in this country, especially for younger children. Parents may choose family child care for its intimate, home-like setting, flexible hours, consistency of care-giver, and small group size.

The Code of Virginia mandates the licensure of family day homes that provide care for five through twelve children (exclusive of the provider's own children and any children who reside in the home). The care may be offered in the home of the provider or in the home of any of the children in care.

A family day home caring for more than four children under the age of two, including the provider's own children and any children who reside in the home, must be licensed or voluntarily registered. A family day home where the children in care are all related to the provider by blood or marriage is not required to be licensed.

During the (less than 24 hour) absence of a parent or guardian, the licensed family day home provider assumes responsibility for the supervision, protection, and well-being of a child under 13 years of age.

Licensing standards, which are proposed by the Virginia Board of Education and enforced by the Virginia Department of Education, ensure that the activities, services, and facilities of the family day home are conducive to the welfare of the children in care.

Need assistance? Contact your licensing inspector or the Office of Child Care Licensing in your region.


How to Become a Licensed Family Day Home Provider (FDH)

  1. View the Phase I: Pre-Application Training for Family Day Homes (this is highly recommended, but not required)

  2. Review the following information:

    1. Regulations for General Procedures and Standards for Licensed Family Day Homes

    2. Information about Background Checks for Child Day Programs

  3. Contact the Office of Child Care Licensing in your region to sign up for Pre-Licensure Orientation for Licensed Family Day Homes – Phase 2. In this class, licensing inspectors will focus on the Standards for Licensed Family Day Homes and answer any of your questions.

  4. Contact your local zoning office to determine the number of children you may request to care for in your home.

  5. Submit a complete application for licensure. All required information, fees and attachments must be included with the application for the licensing office to process your application including:

*Note: To ensure timely processing, the applicant must submit a complete application to the Office of Child Care Licensing Licensing at least 60 days prior to the facility’s planned opening date.

  1.  Prepare for your home inspection. After you have completed steps 3-5, a licensing inspector will contact you to schedule an inspection of your home.

How to Renew Your License

 To ensure timely processing, the applicant must submit a complete renewal application to the Office of Child Care Licensing at least 60 days prior to the expiration date of the current license. A complete renewal application includes the following: 1) “Part I: Renewal Application” and required attachments; 2) “Part II: Program Addendum to the Application” and required attachments; and 3) the renewal fee.  No fee is required for a renewal application following a conditional license.

If you are a current provider seeking renewal of a family day home you will need to complete these forms:


MODEL FORMS


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Licensed Child Day Centers




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Voluntary Registration for Family Day Homes


Background Checks

State and federal law require employees and volunteers in all child day programs and adult household members in family day homes to undergo comprehensive background checks pursuant to Article 5, Chapter 14.1 of Title 22.1 of the Code of Virginia. There are three required components of a background check, described in more detail below. Anyone who has committed a barrier crime as defined in § 19.2-392.02 is considered ineligible for employment or a volunteer position.

Review the instructions for completing the background check process and reach out to the Office of Child Care Licensing at childcarelicensing@doe.virginia.gov for assistance.

Sworn Statement

A sworn disclosure or affirmation (PDF) is a statement completed by a person attesting to whether he/she has ever been: (i) convicted of or the subject of pending charges of any crime within the Commonwealth or equivalent offense outside the Commonwealth, or (ii) the subject of a founded complaint of child abuse or neglect within or outside the Commonwealth. Additionally for family day homes, the person affirms if he, or if he knows that any person who resides in the home, has a sex offense conviction or is the subject of a founded complaint of child abuse or neglect within or outside the Commonwealth.

Criminal History Record Check

The criminal history record check is the process of the Virginia Department of State Police to generate a criminal record report on a person. The report will be either the criminal history record report or the criminal record clearance. The criminal history record report shows all convictions. The criminal record clearance shows whether the person is guilty of:

  1. A barrier crime (PDF), and/or

  2. Any other felony not included in the definition of barrier crime unless five years have elapsed since the conviction.

VDOE and VDSS work with a fingerprinting vendor called Fieldprint to collect all identifying information on the application, take fees, take fingerprints, and electronically submit the information to the Virginia State Police (VSP), the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), and OBI. Find a Fieldprint office near you and learn learn how to register for an appointment (PDF).

Central Registry

The Virginia Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry (PDF) is mandated by the Virginia Child Protective Law. The search of the central registry is a check to determine if the person has ever been the subject of a founded complaint of child abuse or neglect in Virginia.

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Licensed Family Day Homes




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Religiously-Exempt Child Day Centers


Voluntary Registration for Family Day Homes

Voluntary Registration is a form of regulation available to family day homes that are not required to be licensed. These homes have four or fewer children in care at any one time, not including the provider's own child and any children who legally reside in the home. Voluntary Registration is not available in areas where local ordinances regulate unlicensed providers (Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax). The program is administered by the Office of Child Care Licensing and community-based agencies that have a contract with the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to administer the program in specific areas of the state. Regulations for voluntarily registered programs are set forth in 8VAC20-850.

To become registered, a family day home provider must submit an application, a $50.00 non-refundable application fee, and the results of a TB screening and the results of a criminal history search and a child abuse registry search, and a submit a sworn statement or affirmation for themselves, any adults that reside in the home, any assistants or any substitute providers. Additional requirements include a child abuse search for children in the home age 14 - 17. Lastly, they must complete a self-assessment of their compliance with the health and safety requirements using the health and safety checklist.

The contract agency or the Office of Child Care Licensing will conduct a home inspection to confirm compliance with the health and safety requirements. Upon recommendation for approval, the Superintendent for Public Instruction issues a two-year certificate of registration. During the two-year period, the contracting agency and VDOE licensing staff monitor a sample number of registered homes for compliance with the requirements.


Are you interested in becoming a voluntarily registered family day home?

Start by reviewing the welcome letter and review the resources below:

Ready to apply?

Complete and submit the following forms.

You will also need to complete all background investigation requirements. Background checks must be completed 90 days prior to submitting an application. Original background checks MUST be available at the home for inspection.

Complete applications and required fees may be submitted to the Office of Child Care Licensing or contract agency in your region. If submitting to VDOE, make your check or money order payable to the “Treasurer of Virginia.” If submitting to a contract agency, contact the representative for payment information. Applications and fees submitted to the incorrect agency will delay processing.

VDOE recommends submitting your completed application at least 60 days prior to your planned opening date. If you need help completing your application, email childcarelicensing@doe.virginia.gov

Already a registered provider?

Using these model forms will help ensure you are meeting VR health and safety requirements:


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Licensed Family Day Homes




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Religiously-Exempt Child Day Centers


Religiously-Exempt Child Day Centers (RECDC)

Code of Virginia § 22.1-289.031 exempts from licensure a child day center operated or conducted under the auspices of a religious institution if the religious institution meets certain requirements and files certain documentation with the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) prior to opening and then annually.  

In order to be exempt from licensure, religious institutions must meet file a statement of intent prior to beginning operations, including:

 

  • Certification that the center has disclosed to parents or guardians in writing that the center is exempt from licensure, and has posted such information in a visible location on the premises (see model form)

  • Certification that employees meet the required professional qualifications and are in good health required to provide care for children (see model form for staff health report);

  • Evidence of tax-exempt status under § 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended, or that the real property owned and exclusively occupied by the religious institution is exempt from local taxation;

  • Local health department and fire marshal inspection results

  • Certification that the center meets certain staff-child ratio requirements (model form); and

  • Certification that the center is aware of and will abide by the basic health and safety requirements in § 22.1-289.031.

This documentation must also be submitted on an annual basis prior to the expiration date of the exemption. Documentation should be submitted to the Office of Child Care Licensing in your region.

The VDOE Office of Child Care Licensing will conduct inspections to monitor the RECDC's compliance with Code requirements, investigate complaints if noncompliance with Code requirements is alleged, and monitor compliance with subsidy health and safety inspection requirements (if a program participates in subsidy).


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Religiously-Exempt Child Day Centers (RECDC)




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Certified Preschools


Certified Preschools

Section 22.1-289.032 of the Code of Virginia allows preschool programs operated by private schools that are accredited by a statewide accrediting organization (or another accrediting organization recognized by the Board of Education) to be exempt from licensure.

The State Board of Education recognizes the accreditation process for private schools administered through the Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE) Commission on Accreditation. Accrediting organizations that are approved by VCPE administer their own accrediting process for schools in their organizations.

In order for preschool and nursery school programs operated by accredited private schools to be certified, programs must submit this Documentation for Certification of Preschool Programs with VDOE before the beginning of the school year or calendar year and annually thereafter. The information includes, but is not limited to, verification of accreditation or accreditation candidacy, a statement of intent, documentation that the parents or guardians of children in care have received written notification that the preschool is exempt from licensure, documentation that the school requires criminal record clearances on all employees of the preschool, a list of staff qualifications and health and fire inspections reports.

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Voluntary Registration for Family Day Homes



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Local Ordinance Homes and Centers


Approved by Local Ordinance: Homes and Centers

Approved child day care programs are regulated by an entity other than VDOE. At present, three localities have the authority to approve by local ordinance certain family day homes and center-based programs:


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Certified Preschools




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Exempt Filing


Exempt Child Day Program Filing

In addition to religiously exempt child day programs (§ 22.1-289.031) and certified preschool or nursery school programs (§ 22.1-289.032), certain child day programs are also not required to be licensed and are considered exempt from licensure per § 22.1-289.030 of the Code of Virginia.

Effective July 1, 2019, child day programs that are exempt from licensure pursuant to the Code of Virginia §§ 22.1-289.030B, excluding religiously exempt child day centers and certified preschool or nursery programs, must file a Statement of Exemption with the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) prior to beginning operation of a child day program and annually.

The Statement of Exemption should be completed in its entirety, as appropriate. Retain a copy for your records. Please contact the licensing office in your region for questions related to completion of this document.


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Local Ordinance Homes and Centers




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Licensed Family Day System


Licensed Family Day System

The Code of Virginia requires licensure of any person who approves family day care homes as a member of its system and who refers children to available day care homes in that system.

The system refers children to member homes, as well as provides the operators with training, technical assistance and consultation, inspection, supervision, and monitoring. The system is also responsible for referring children to available health and social services.

The system is inspected at least twice a year by licensing inspectors. Regulations require the system to visit member homes quarterly (two visits must be unannounced) to ensure compliance with the system's policies and procedures. Licensing inspectors may make unannounced visits to member homes at any time.

A member home of a system may provide child day care for a maximum of 9 children. The operator of the home is subject to the same requirements for criminal record checks, child abuse/neglect central registry checks, and tuberculosis screenings as a licensed family day home provider.

Currently, the only licensed Family Day Home System in Virginia is operated by Infant/Toddler Family Day Care

Applying to Become a Licensed Family Day System

Renewing a Family Day System License

Model forms - All Other


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Exempt FIling




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Becomd a Subsidy Vendor


Become a Child Care Subsidy Program Vendor

The Child Care Subsidy Program helps eligible families pay for child care, allowing parents or caregivers to work or participate in education and training and for children to experience high-quality early learning opportunities. The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) oversees the Child Care Subsidy Program, which is administered by the Virginia Department of Social Services and local departments of social services across the Commonwealth.

Child Care SUBSIDY Program VENDOR APPROVAL PROCESS

Child care providers must be approved by VDSS before they can be paid by the state for providing care to children enrolled in the Child Care Subsidy Program. Providers that service children enrolled in the program are referred to "Subsidy Vendors."

    Child Care Subsidy Program Orientation

    The Child Care Subsidy Program partners with Child Care Aware to deliver the Child Care Subsidy Orientation to child care providers. Prospective providers should read Steps 1-5 before completing the application.

  • Step 1: Attend the Child Care Subsidy Orientation – Contact Child Care Aware for enrollment information or questions. This orientation is free and offered twice a month. Participants will receive technical assistance with application and form completion. Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend prior to submitting the New Vendor Application Packet.

  • New Vendor Application Packet

  • Step 2:  New Vendor Application Packet Checklist
  1. All providers must complete the New Vendor Application Packet Checklist and provide the information and documents listed in Step 2 and Step 3 below.
  2. In addition:
    1. All child care subsidy providers with the exception of In-Home Care Program Providers must complete, date, and sign the paper Child Care Subsidy Program Vendor Application. In-Home Care Child Care is defined as child care provided in the home of the child and parent when all of the children in care reside in the home and the vendor or provider does not live in the home. Please see In-Home Child Care Information for further details regarding the In-Home Child Care Program.
    2. In-Home Care Program Providers ONLY must complete the online In-Home Care Program Vendor Application. Prospective child care providers who will be caring for children in the provider’s home, which is not the home of the child, should complete the “Child Care Subsidy Program Vendor Application”.

  • Step 3: Attach required documentation listed below and submit with the application:
  1. Documentation of operating status (Not required for In-Home Care Providers or Unlicensed Family Day Homes) – Examples of operating status are:
    1. Certificate of Registration or
    2. Exemption Letter or
    3. License or
    4. Permit
  2. IRS Documentation: Form W-9 - Be sure the social security number (SSN) or FEIN and name of the child care facility are correct. This should be the same filing information reported to the IRS.
  3. IRS Documentation: Supporting Documentation for Form W-9 - Examples of supporting documentation are:
    1. copy of social security card (SSN), or
    2. IRS Notification Letter 147C, or
    3. IRS Notification Letter SS-4
  4. Professional Development Certificate of Completion of VA Preservice Training for Child Care Staff. The Program Director/Owner or Designee must complete and submit a certificate with the New Vendor Application Packet.
VERY IMPORTANT: Additional documentation may be required based upon your program’s category of care. Review the chart and submit all additional documentation with the New Vendor Application Packet.

All incomplete applications will be denied.

    Subsidy Monitoring Inspection

  • Step 4: All applicants are required to undergo a subsidy monitoring inspection prior to approval and once annually, thereafter.

    Once the completed New Vendor Application Packet is received, the applicant will be contacted by a licensing representative from the Office of Child Care Licensing and an initial subsidy monitoring inspection will be scheduled within 30 days of referral by the Child Care Subsidy Program staff.

    Inspection requirement resources for homes or centers are available. All subsidy inspection results are posted.

    Note: Child care programs approved under local ordinance have additional inspection requirements.

  • Subsidy Vendor Approval

  • Step 5: After receipt of (a) a completed New Vendor Application Packet and subsidy monitoring inspection results, the applicant will either be approved or denied. Child care providers will be notified by letter or email of their approval or denial within 45 days.

    Vendor Agreement

    The Vendor Agreement is the contract between the Virginia Department of Social Services and the approved Child Care Subsidy Program vendor for the provision of child care services.

    If approved, an electronic Vendor Agreement for homes or centers will be emailed. The vendor shall review the agreement, accept all terms, and electronically sign the agreement before returning it to the Child Care Subsidy Program.

    Local departments of social services will use the completion of the Vendor Agreement as verification of the vendor’s participation in the Child Care Subsidy Program. The date of the signed Vendor Agreement is the effective date of approval for the subsidy vendor.

    Note: A vendor cannot be reimbursed for services provided until a signed Purchase of Service Order (POSO) dated within the start and end dates of the Vendor Agreement has been created by a local department of social services.

    Once approved by the Child Care Subsidy Program, if the child care facility’s Director/Owner changes, subsidy payment will be suspended until a new owner applies and is approved by the Program.

Benefits to Becoming a Subsidy Vendor

Any legally operating child care provider may choose to become an approved Subsidy Vendor!
Subsidy Vendors are choosing to make a difference for children, families and the community by serving low-income families who are working or attending an approved school or training program.
Becoming a Subsidy Vendor creates opportunities to:

  • Make a difference by delivering services that allow parents to work and stay (or become) self-sufficient
  • Make a difference by providing healthy, safe and quality environments where children spend a significant number of hours each week, which has a direct impact on their development and well-being
  • Receive payments for the Subsidy children you serve through convenient and regular direct deposits to your banking account or a debit card
  • Use your approved Subsidy Provider status as a marketing tool to solicit and educate prospective parents
  • Influence parents with online health and safety inspection reports
  • Access relevant, up-to-date training and resources
  • Receive federal and state child care news and updates through email blasts

Subsidy Payment Levels

The Child Care Subsidy Program does a statewide survey every 3 years to gather information about the rates charged by child care providers. This information is used to help set the payment rates for the Subsidy Program. In general, licensed providers are paid by the Subsidy Program at a rate higher than unlicensed providers.

  • Level 1 - Unlicensed providers are considered to be “Level 1” providers. Voluntarily registered family day homes, religious exempt centers, certified preschools, local government approved recreation programs and in home providers who are not licensed or regulated by VDSS are included in this group.
  • Level 2 – Licensed providers are considered to be “Level 2” providers. Providers who are licensed by VDSS or are approved and/or operated by a Licensed Family Day System, the Department of Defense, or under local ordinance according to §15.2-914 of the Code of Virginia are included in this group. 

The payment amounts received by providers for services provided depend on the locality, the age of the child, the provider level and also the type of care (center or family day home). The payment rates and amounts for all Subsidy providers are determined by VDSS. Level 2 providers are eligible to receive payment for absences, holidays and registration fees.

Vendor Agreements/Inspection Requirements

Notices



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Licensed Family Day System




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Child Care Subsidy Vendors


Virginia Quality

 

VERY IMPORTANT: Additional documentation may be required based upon your program’s category of care. In July 2020, Governor Northam signed legislation to create a Unified Measurement and Improvement System. VDOE is working with a variety of stakeholders to develop and scale the new system.  By fall 2023, all publicly-funded programs will be required to participate. Virginia Quality will remain active until the new system is in place, with a plan to ‘freeze’ Virginia Quality ratings to support the overall transition. More information can be found in the document, Planning for the Virginia Quality Transition posted on the Building a Unified Early Childhood System webpage.

Committed to Quality Early Learning

Virginia Quality

Virginia Quality is the state’s voluntary Quality Rating and Improvement System. Quality Rating and Improvement Systems are a proven method to improve the quality of child care and early learning programs. Virginia Quality awards quality levels to child care and preschool programs based on four quality standards and best practices:

  1. The education and qualifications of the staff
  2. The curriculum or intentional teaching approach the program uses to guide children’s learning
  3. The learning environment
  4. Teacher-child interactions

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Child Care Subsidy Vendors




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Childcare as a Profession


Training and Professional Development

A skilled and well-trained workforce is essential to providing high-quality early care and education services to children and their families. Through professional development, child care providers acquire knowledge and skills needed to plan and implement quality early learning experiences. If you are a child care provider looking for professional development opportunities, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) collaborates with partners to provide training opportunities throughout the state for child care providers in both classroom-based and distance learning formats. VDOE offers a variety of training, education, and resources to help you earn the continuing education and training needed to be successful in the early childhood and school-age care workforce which are described here.

Virginia Preservice Training for Child Care Staff - Virginia's Health and Safety Training Course

This FREE online course introduces child care staff to important health and safety information and addresses other topics such as child development, inclusion, and Virginia's Subsidy and Licensing Programs. Participants will earn a 10-hour training certificate upon completion and a CEU! Completion of the training is required for Child Care Subsidy Program Vendors or their designees, and their staff who work directly with children, but all Virginia child care staff are welcome and strongly encouraged to take this FREE course. Please check with your employer to determine if your program participates in Virginia's Subsidy Program and you are required to complete the training.

The FREE, 10-hour course covers the following topics:

  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Prevention and Control of Infectious Disease
  • Food and Allergic Reactions
  • Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma
  • Safe Sleep and SUIDS Prevention
  • Safe Spaces
  • Transportation Safety
  • Handling and Storage of Hazardous Materials
  • Medication Safety
  • Inclusion of All Children
  • Healthy Teeth for Children
  • Recognition and Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Foundations of Child Development and Approaches to Learning
  • Introduction to Virginia’s Child Care Subsidy Program and Benefits of Program Licensure

The Virginia Department of Education is partnering with Pennsylvania State University's Better Kid Care Program to bring this course to you. For more information, see the Frequently Asked Questions.

To access the course, click on "Start Training" below. If you already have an account with Better Kid Care, sign in to On-Demand, and select "Virginia Preservice Training for Child Care Staff" at the bottom of the alphabetical listing. If you have not used Better Kid Care" website before, you will need to register as a new user first, and then choose the Virginia Preservice Training from the alphabetical listing.

If you have any issues accessing the training, please contact call the Better Kid Care HELP line at (800) 452-9108.


The Virginia Health and Safety Update Training

The Virginia Health and Safety Update Training is a REQUIRED annual training for Child Care Subsidy Program Vendors or their designees, and their staff who work directly with children. This 3-hour Annual Health and Safety Update Training is a follow-up to the Virginia Preservice Training for Child Care Staff.

 

Are There Scholarships to Help Me Pay for Education?

The Virginia Child Care Scholarship Program provides tuition assistance to child care providers to obtain foundational knowledge and skills in the care and development of children at a Virginia college or university. This program is funded by the federal Child Care and Development Fund and allows early educators to take undergraduate courses. To learn more about this program visit vaccscholarship.com

The Virginia Association for Early Childhood Education (VAECE) is an organization that acts and speaks on behalf of all young children in Virginia. The organization has established an annual scholarship project to assist providers working with young children to obtain their Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential.  VAECE will reimburse half of the direct assessment credentialing fee, or half of the renewal fee paid by candidates.

Project Pathfinders is administered by the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation to increase the skills of early childhood professionals by accessing community college coursework and credentials. All applications must be submitted through their online system.

MAT Training Program - Medication Administration Training Program

The MAT Program trains and certifies Virginia child day program providers and private school employees to safely give medications to children (ages infant through high school graduation) in their care. The MAT Program DOES NOT certify providers who work in a residential care setting or who provide care for adults.

First Aid / CPR Free Training

Child Care Aware provides First Aid and CPR training on behalf of the Virginia Department of Education. There is no cost to Child Care Providers that participate in the Child Care Subsidy program or provide child care for infants and toddlers. For more information click here.

Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential

Better Kid Care Directors’ Training

Better Kid Care offers lessons designed specifically to address the professional development needs of center directors with content on program leadership and administration. Click here for Better Kid Care Directors’ Training.

Childcare/Program Director’s Training

CHD 270 - This Community College course examines the skills needed for establishing and managing early childhood programs. Emphasizes professionalism and interpersonal skills, program planning, staff selection and development, creating policies, budgeting, and developing forms for recordkeeping.

Classroom-Based Courses

Virginia’s Community Colleges offer short term certificate programs and 2-year Associate Degrees in Early Childhood Development.

  • Early Childhood Certificate

    A certificate is a short term educational program consisting of a minimum of 30 semester hours.

  • Early Childhood Development Degrees

    The Virginia Community Colleges offer an Associate of Applied Science degree for child care providers.

Childcare/Program Director’s Training

CHD 270 - This Community College course examines the skills needed for establishing and managing early childhood programs. Emphasizes professionalism and interpersonal skills, program planning, staff selection and development, creating policies, budgeting, and developing forms for recordkeeping.

Career Pathways for Early Childhood and Out-of-School Time Practitioners

Virginia Career Pathways for Early Childhood and Out-of-School Time Practitioners is a resource that recognizes the hours of informal training, formal education and credentials of practitioners in the field of early childhood and school-age care. The purpose of the Career Pathways is to help practitioners plan their training, education and career development goals so they may be well-prepared to educate, nurture and meet the needs of young children and their families.

IMPACT Registry

IMPACT is Virginia’s early childhood professional development registry. This voluntary tool documents and recognizes the professional achievements of practitioners and trainers who work in the early childhood education and school-age care profession within the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The IMPACT Registry awards a Professional Development Certificate designating your Placement Level on the Career Pathways for Early Childhood and Out-of-School Time Practitioners. Each level represents increased training and education, indicating a commitment to early childhood education, and creating a pathway to career growth.
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Resources


Resources

Regulations Crosswalks

These charts show how new VDOE regulations align with previous regulations at VDSS. Minor technical edits were made to the regulations to reflect Education code, but the requirements for child care programs have not changed.

Other Training and Development Opportunities

Association for Early Learning Leaders
The Association for Early Learning Leader’s goal is to strengthen the knowledge, skills and abilities of early care directors, owners, emerging leaders and other early learning professionals to ensure quality child care programs for young children.

Better Kid Care
Better Kid Care's On Demand Distance Education system provides professional development online anytime you are ready to learn! Get started using On Demand with a video tutorial, review the lesson listing, and read frequently asked questions.

Child Abuse and Neglect – Recognizing, Reporting and Responding for Educators
This training module prepares Virginia teachers who are mandated by law to report suspected child abuse and neglect.

Child Care Aware of Virginia
Offers training courses designed to help early childhood professionals complete annual training requirements and acquire required training hours for the CDA credential or in-service training.

Children with Special Health Care Needs
This webinar explores the key role caregivers play in supporting children with special health care needs.

Early Childhood Investigations Webinars
An ongoing series of free webinars that offer new ideas and insights to early childhood educators, directors, managers, and other professionals who work in early care and education.

Introduction to Family Engagement in Education

Multihazard Planning for Childcare
FEMA has a free course designed to help child care providers develop emergency preparedness plans.

First Aid and CPR
The American Red Cross offers training in First Aid, CPR, and/or AED.

Medical Administration Training
Child care providers who work in licensed or regulated child day programs and who give prescription medications to children are required by the code of Virginia to satisfactorily complete the MAT course.

Virginia Early Intervention eLearning Center - Social Emotional Development of Young Children:
The VA EI eLearning Center is designed to provide practitioners with high quality, interactive professional development on early intervention topics. Each module is available as a free resource and results in a certificate of completion.

Guidance & Resources

Emergency Preparedness
Learn how to plan, organize and practice emergency procedures so that you will be able to keep children safe and calm if an actual emergency arises.

Family and Community Engagement
Learn how to enhance parent, family, and community engagement practices in your program. The Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center (ECLKC) has a wealth of resources, strategies, assessments, newsletters, PD opportunities and more for building strong partnerships with families.

Fostering Healthy Social & Emotional Development in Young Children
Tips for Early Childhood Teachers and Providers

Low Interest Loan Program
The Virginia Small Business Child Care Financing Program (CCFP) is designed to assist Virginia child care providers in obtaining financing for fixed asset needs and educational materials.

NAP SACC
Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care works with early care and education programs to set preschool children on a lifelong path to healthy eating and activity. Go NAP SACC is full of resources, including self-assessment instruments and training opportunities, to improve the health of young children.

Project Hope - Virginia’s Program for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth
These resources provide an overview of issues related to the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness and resource to support these children and their families.

Screening: The First Step to Getting to Know a Child
The Early Childhood Health and Wellness portal on the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC) offers facts and tools about screening for early childhood staff and families.

Virginia Infant & Toddler Specialist Network
The ITSN provides on-site services that include individualized consultation, targeted training, classroom-focused mentoring, and feedback as well as resources and materials related to increasing the quality of care provided to infants and toddlers.

Virginia Shared Services Network
The Virginia Shared Services Network has resources, articles, training materials and networking opportunities related to the classroom, working with families, and program administration.

Publications and Resources

Best Practice Recommendations for the Prevention of Suspension and Expulsion of Young Children
Research indicates that high-quality early learning is a critical first step to creating equity in access to early education and ensuring that all children begin kindergarten with an equal opportunity to learn. Suspensions and expulsions of young children deprive them of enriching learning experiences and have a negative impact that extends into grade school and beyond. This document provides recommendations regarding best practice in implementing developmentally appropriate experiences fro children in child care programs (0-12 years) that can prevent suspension and expulsion.

Competencies for Early Childhood Professionals
Virginia must have a highly skilled workforce that embraces a spirit of life-long learning and continuous quality improvement. To articulate the skills and competencies desired in that workforce, Virginia’s Competencies for Early Childhood Professionals outline standards for competent practice, identifying what early childhood professionals must know, be able to do, and care about to provide quality early care and education.

Need Help Selecting a Curriculum or Professional Development Opportunity?
Two new resource lists are now available to help child care providers select a curriculum and also obtain information on a variety of professional development courses and trainers. The Choosing High-Quality Curriculum list and the Professional Development Resource List for Child Care Providers will be updated annually or as new resources become available, and were developed by the Department of Social Services in cooperation with the University of Virginia's Center for the Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning.

Virginia’s Early Learning and Development Standards (ELDS)  
The ELDS are a reference to help caregivers and educators understand what most children are able to know and to do, across different areas of development, by a given age.The document describes development across five overlapping age bands. 

The overlap conveys the reality that children develop at different rates. Individual skills will appear, across children, at different times. Those differences are often consistent with “expected” or “typical” development. The ELDS are organized into 5 Areas of Development:

  •  Approaches to Play and Learning

  •  Social Emotional Learning

  •  Communication, Language, and Literacy Development

  •  Health and Physical Development

  • Cognitive Development

Learn the Signs. Act Early. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 6 children aged 3-17 has a developmental disability, but many of these children are not identified until they are school-aged. Early identification and intervention are crucial to help each child build new skills and reduce the need for costly interventions in the future. CDC’s Learn the Signs. Act Early. program provides early childhood educators, clinicians, and families with resources, materials and tools to improve early identification of children with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Family Child Care Tool Kit
This publication is designed to assist family child care providers in providing quality care and education to the children they serve. It contains guides and outlines, sample policies and procedures, forms and checklists, and resources about health and safety and child development. Click here to see the updates made in 2020.

Emergency Preparedness for Child Care Providers
This document provides a wealth of resources and tips for emergency preparedness – including preparation, response and recovery.

Trauma Toolkit
Recent advances in understanding how early childhood experiences shape the way the brain works over a lifetime, reveal how critically important the caregivers’ job of caring for children is. The trauma toolkit is designed to support caregivers on their journey towards trauma sensitivity. The toolkit offers a brief overview by topic, specific tools that can be used with children, and a brief summary on where to find more information.

Professional Associations

Virginia Association for the Education of Young Children
VAAEYC is an organization that acts and speaks on behalf of all young children in Virginia. VAAEYC seeks to promote the professional growth of persons working with young children and improve the availability and quality of developmental and educational services and resources for young children.

Virginia Child Care Association
VCCA is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing support and guidance for Virginia’s private, licensed early childhood education community with up-to-date information and resources to help stay on top of the industry and prepare for future growth and success.

Virginia Partnership for Out-of-School Time
VPOST is a statewide public-private partnership dedicated to developing and expanding academic, social, emotional, and physical supports and services to school-age children and youth across the Commonwealth of Virginia during the out-of-school time hours – before-school, after-school, vacation periods, and summer.

Virginia Alliance of Family Child Care Associations
The Virginia Alliance of Family Child Care Associations promotes professional development for family child care providers through quality child care and early childhood education conferences and training, sharing of educational resources, and collaboration with local associations.

National Association for the Education of Young Children
NAEYC provides research-based ideas to inspire and inform your work with young children.

Virginia Cross Sector Professional Development Leadership Team
VCPD offers a great listing of early childhood professional development web sites that provide a broad array of early childhood professional development resources

Council for Professional Recognition
The Council for Professional Recognition promotes improved performance and recognition of professionals in the early childhood education


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Child Care Subsidy Vendors

Virginia Electronic Child Care (VaECC) is the system of record that provides information on attendance and subsidy payments. This information is recorded by use of a Point of Service (POS) device or by use of a telephone to engage Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) or by manual entry. Child Care Providers participating in the Child Care Subsidy Program, and serve children enrolled in the program are typically referred to as "Subsidy Vendors" will use this system. Visit VaECC for assistance with password reset directions.

Child Care Subsidy Provider Contacts

Payments, Attendance, or General Questions
Subsidy Applications, or Vendor Status Updates
POS Inquiries, Direct Deposits
Conduent Call Center
IVR Assistance for Parents
Conduent Parent Help Desk

To login to the Vendor portal, click here:

VaECC Instructional Aids

VaECC Payment Forms and Schedules


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