Child Care Options
Child Care Centers provide care for children in various buildings, community centers, places of worship or other facilities. Centers may provide care for infants through school-age children usually separated into same or similar age groups. In Alabama, legally operating child care centers can be licensed or exempt from licensure.
A Family Day Care Home provides care for no more than 6 unrelated children in the caregiver’s home with two or more caregivers present and must be licensed.
A Day Care Group Home provides care for no more than 12 unrelated children in the caregiver’s home with two or more caregivers present and must be licensed.
Preschool Programs (Mother’s Day Out) can be located in community centers or places of worship. Preschool programs usually operate three to four hours a day, a few days a week for children ranging in age from infants through four-year olds.
School-Age Child Care generally takes place in child care centers, schools, community centers, YMCA/YWCA’s or in conjunction with civic park and recreation programs. Care is typically available before and after school, on school holidays and during the summer. School-age child care programs offer care for children in kindergarten through typically 13 years of age.
Relative Child Care arrangements occur when a family relative, like a grandparent, aunt, uncle or an adult sibling, cares for a related child usually in a residential setting.
In-Home Child Care is care provided for a child in his or her home by an individual nanny. As a nanny’s employer, parents may be responsible for withholding and remitting payroll taxes; contributing to Social Security; and paying for worker’s compensation, insurance and vacation time.
Head Start and Early Head Start are federal programs that promote the growth and development of children from low-income families. Parent involvement, health screenings and family support are included in the programs. Children ages three to five attend Head Start. Early Head Start serves families with children pre-birth to three years of age. Head Start and Early Head Start may be provided in centers or home-based settings. Parents must meet eligibility requirements to enroll. For more information on Head Start and Early Head Start, please contact the Alabama Head Start Collaboration Office at 334-353-2711.
First Class, Alabama’s Voluntary State Pre-K Program is managed by the Alabama Office of School Readiness, a division of the Alabama Department of Children’s Affairs (DCA). The Office of School Readiness funds programs that provide quality preschool experiences to four-year old children to prepare them for school. Pre-K sites are located throughout the state. Visit the DCA website for more information.