Child Care Types
are defined by the child care setting and number of children
Center Based Care – a facility caring for 20 or more children
Small Center (Group Home) – a program that has 11 to 20 children and can be at the child care educator’s home OR at a separate facility
Family Child Care – a program caring for up to 10 children in the child care educator’s home
Missouri Licensing Types
Licensed – a child care program is inspected by Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education-Office of Childhood, meet standards and follow specific Missouri regulations. These standards/regulations include health and safety inspections, ratio, group size, staff qualifications, staff training requirements along with other items. Read the licensing standards for additional information. Licensed programs are included in Child Care Aware® of Missouri’s child care referral database.
License-Exempt – can either be a center-based child care program operated by a religious organization or a child care program offering part-day care only. These programs must follow health and safety requirements, but do not have to follow other licensing standards such as ratio, group size, staff qualifications, staff training requirements along with other items. Read the regulations regarding License-Exempt care.
Exempt – child care programs including summer camps, day programs, elementary or secondary schools, and others. For more information contact us at 866-892-3228. Exempt child cares are not typically included in Child Care Aware® of Missouri’s child care referral database. Exempt providers may list with us if they meet listing standards. For questions about these listing standards, please contact us.
Six or Fewer (SOF) – Exempt family child care that cares for six or fewer children, with no more than 3 children under the age of 2. These programs do not have to be inspected, meet standards or follow specific Missouri regulations. SOFs are not typically included in Child Care Aware® of Missouri’s child care referral database. SOF providers may list with us if they meet listing standards. For questions about these listing standards, please contact us.
Regulations, Standards, and Quality Indicators
can help you measure the quality of care your child will receive. Keep these details in mind during your child care search
Training – child care educators in licensed programs are required to receive a 12-clock hour approved training hours per year. Some child care educators earn more than the minimum requirement.
Education – Staff education requirements will vary by program type, licensure and accreditation. Child care educators may have secondary through post-secondary educations.
Turn Over – How often staff leave a child care program is their turn over. Low staff turnover provides more stability for the children and can indicate a positive overall environment.
Accreditation – Programs may choose to go through an accreditation process requiring standards and expectations above that of licensing standards. Missouri recognizes seven (7) different accrediting bodies.
Missouri Recognized Accrediting Bodies
Below are the various accrediting bodies recognized in Missouri. The accreditation process involves programs meeting standards that exceed Missouri’s licensing regulations. Each organization has its own set of expectations that programs must reach to earn accreditation status. Families can search for accredited programs by using filters available in the Child Care Aware® of Missouri database. For more information on a particular accreditation type, follow the link provided.
Missouri Accreditation of Programs for Child and Youth (MOA)
Missouri was the first state to establish and apply quality accreditation standards for programs providing care and education for children. Missouri Accreditation (MOA) works to enhance the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual growth opportunities available to children in early learning and school age programs across Missouri. MOA provides ongoing monitoring, evaluation, and recognition of programs who have met and maintained Missouri Accreditation standards. Accreditation criteria include the areas of children’s relationships and interactions, physical environment, programming and curriculum, family and program connections, administration, as well as health, safety, and nutrition.
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) works to support high-quality, research-based education to provide a solid foundation for all children’s future success by implementing quality-improvement resources, research on best practices, training, and technical assistance to licensed child care centers. NAEYC addresses three core areas within its accreditation process—children, teaching staff and administration, and families and community relationships. In looking closely at these three areas, NAEYC examines the way children are influenced by their educational leadership and family and community relationships. Each piece is evaluated at the NAEYC standard level in order to determine their accreditation achievement.
National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC)
For over 25 years, the National Association for Family Child Care has worked to promote high-quality early childhood experiences and prioritize access, affordability, and quality of early care and education specifically in the licensed family child care environment. The NAFCC strives for progress in the investment and implementation of the Child Care and Development Block Grant, Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program in the Child Nutrition Reauthorization. Other core focuses include strengthening the early childhood workforce and increasing the availability of high-quality child care in rural communities, for infants and toddlers, and for families who work non-traditional hours.
National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA)
National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA) can be applied to family child care and center-based programs who are licensed for seven or more children. It works to improve the quality of early care and education programs. NECPA standards are based on 30 years of research in the area of early care and education. NECPA standards aim to address the whole child by assessing relationships between the child and teacher, the program and family, and the program and the community.
Commission of Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF International)
The Commission of Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF® International) works with diverse environments through an accreditation process and ongoing progress review that focuses on improving the lives of the individuals served. CARF works with different health and human service institutions like rehabilitation programs, treatment programs for addiction and substance abuse, home and community services, and retirement living. CARF accreditation requires institutions to meet its standards related to business and service delivery and to commit to ongoing improvement. Accreditation is evaluated annually based on standards set forth collaboratively by professionals and consumers of different viewpoints.
Council on Accreditation (COA)
The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international peer accrediting body that works with human service programs and organizations, including child and youth development programs, to produce high-quality, measurable results focusing on growth, stability, health, and safety. COA considers the consumers, staff, board, and donors, funders, and regulators to be the four key groups to examine when establishing accreditation.
Cognia (Formerly AdvancEd) works with early childhood institutions to improve teaching and learning as well as health and safety to better support early learning, growth, and development. It utilizes research-based and evidence-based principles to examine how the policies, practices, learning conditions, and cultural setting work together to reach the program’s vision and meet the needs of every learner. It focuses heavily on a program’s ability to sustain an exemplary commitment to continuous progress and learner outcomes.
Child Care Payment Assistance
The State and some child care programs offer special pricing and fee assistance. See the descriptions below of what you may be eligible for.
Missouri Child Care Subsidy Program – Missouri offers help with child care payments for eligible families based on size and income. For more information, to check eligibility, or to apply visit the Missouri Department of Social Services website.
Sliding Scale – Within the subsidy system, the sliding fee is the portion of the child care payment the family is responsible for paying based on a family’s size and income.
Copayment – The copayment is the remainder of the cost of care after the subsidy payment and sliding fee are applied. Families are responsible for paying a copay if the cost of care exceeds the total of the subsidy payment and sliding fee.
Multi-Child Discount – Some child care programs offer discounts if a family has more than one child enrolled.
Military Supports – Some child care programs offer financial options for children and families of active duty members and veterans. For more information, please contact Child Care Aware® of America at 1-800-424-2246 or [email protected].
Child Care Aware® of Missouri
955 Executive Parkway Drive, Suite 106
St. Louis, MO 63141
TTY: Dial 711 or 800-735-2966 if you are deaf or hearing impaired for MO Relay TTY Services