What are “Quality Early Childhood Programs?”
Quality early childhood programs provide experiences that optimize each child’s development, learning and health, engage families and communities in partnerships and cultivate life-long learners and productive members of society.
Five Steps to Choosing Child Care:
- Start looking for child care as early as possible.
- Make a call to your local child care experts, such as Child Care Aware of NH.
- Visit the child care programs you’re considering, and ask questions about key indicators of quality, such as adult to child ratio, group size, caregiver qualifications, staff turnover, and accreditation.
- Make a choice based on what you saw and your family’s needs.
- Stay involved by attending regular meetings with your child’s caregiver, offering to volunteer at the program from time to time, visiting for your child’s birthday or to read a book aloud to the children, and joining in on special events at the facility.
You can also call Child Care Aware of New Hampshire toll-free 1 (855) 393-1731 to speak with a friendly Child Care Resource and Referral Outreach Specialist about your child care needs and questions.
Is This the Right Place for My Child?
There are many factors to consider including types of care, price, availability, quality of care and location. This consumer statement provides you with information to help you with your choice.
NH Child Care Licensing Unit
The Child Care Licensing Unit (CCLU) ensures that children attending NH child care programs are in safe and healthy environments and are provided with care, supervision and developmentally appropriate activities that meet each child’s physical and emotional needs.
The CCLU licenses and monitors seven categories of child care programs: Family Child Care Homes, Family Group Child Care Homes, Group Child Care Centers, Child Care Nurseries, School Age Programs, Night Care Programs, and Residential Child Care Programs. The CCLU also monitors license exempt providers enrolled to accept NH DHHS Child Care Scholarship.
Click here to learn more information about the different types of child care programs.
Monitoring of Child Care Providers
All licensed programs and license exempt providers who are enrolled to accept NH DHHS Child Care Scholarship are required to be monitored by the CCLU. Child care programs are also required to meet health and safety training requirements.
Click here to view more information on how the CCLU monitors child care providers.
The CCLU provides monitoring inspection reports for each on-site visit to a child care program. This report outlines if there were any health and safety violations and includes action step(s) the child care program took to correct the violation(s).
Click here to search for the licensing history and inspection reports of a child care program.
Criminal Background Checks
All licensed programs and license exempt providers who are enrolled to accept NH DHHS Child Care Scholarship are required to complete a criminal background check.
Click here for more information on criminal background check requirements for child care providers.
Click here for more information on offenses that prevent individuals from being employed by a child care provider or providing child care.
NH has a voluntary quality rating system for licensed child care providers: Licensed; Licensed Plus; and Accreditation (accredited programs). Families can use this information to inform their choices for quality child care.
Click here to learn more about New Hampshire’s quality rating system.
How to Report a Concern about a Child Care Provider
The Child Care Licensing Unit will investigate concerns/complaints:
- That are based upon first-hand knowledge or information reported directly by a child who has first-hand knowledge;
- When there is sufficient specific information for the department to determine that the allegation(s), if proven to be true, would constitute a violation of any Child Care Licensing Rule or Law;
- That involve an incident that occurred within the last 6 months; or
- That involves an incident that occurred anytime if the complaint alleges physical injury or abuse, verbal or emotional abuse, or the danger of physical injury to one or more children.
Click here to contact CCLU with any questions about a child care program or if you are not sure if your concern meets the complaint criteria.
Services for Children and Families
DHHS helps individuals and families find and receive assistance programs including financial assistance, Food Stamps, Medical, Child Care, Nutrition, and Community Services.
Click here to learn more about these services.
To print the Consumer Education Statement click here.