Family Child Care Listings
A home child care provider opens up his or her home to children – often with one adult in charge. Home child care providers must be licensed by the state if they are caring for four or more children (including their own or relatives), unless all children are from a single household.
DCFS allows a single provider to care for 12 children (ages 12 and under), including the caregiver’s own. However, the Village of Oak Park has more rigorous rules and only allows a total of eight children in a home. The National Association for Family Child Care provides accreditation for home child care providers that meet additional quality standards. The state of Illinois is also planning to credential and rate family child care providers; see excelerateillinois.com for more information.
When choosing family child care, be sure to request two or three references and observe the home while children are present.
Many of the guidelines for child care centers also apply to home child care providers, but also examine the following:
- Is a current child care home license on display?
- Does the caregiver have written policies and a contract for parents?
- Are there others living in the home? Who and what age are they?
- Who, besides the provider, may be caring for my child?
- Will my child be taken out of the home while in your care?
- Are there pets or smoking in the home?
- Are bathrooms, diapering areas, and food preparation areas kept clean, safe and separate? Is the house baby-proofed?
- Are toys for older children kept out of reach of younger children?
- Are there any guns in the home? Any guns must be locked and stored separately from ammunition.
- Are there arrangements for substitutes if the caregiver is ill?
- Is a daily schedule posted for parents to see?
- Is there enough safe space for play (indoors and out) and for naps?
- Can parents visit at any time when their children are in care?
- Are there opportunities for parents and caregivers to talk to each other about what is happening in the child’s life?
For more information about choosing child care wisely:
- Read Points to Consider During the Decision-Making Process
- Read the summary of DCFS Licensing standards for homes. These standards are also available at the Oak Park Public Library, or call 312-328-2464.
- Read the National Association for Family Child Care standards.
- Contact the West Suburban Home Day Care Association
The West Suburban Homo Day Care Association is a non-profit organization of local home-based child care providers. They provide monthly training opportunities and networking and they offer a referral line to help parents find provider options among local members.