Governor Terry McAuliffe has announced the launch of a new website to provide more information for parents and providers about child care licensing rules.
The new website, www.childcareva.com, provides easy-to-find child care information and materials created specifically for parents, providers and the general public. The site will serve as the online hub for the Virginia Department of Social Services in its effort to promote the importance of health and safety standards, as well as the benefits of quality child care in Virginia.
“I am excited that this new resource is now available for parents and providers,” said Governor McAuliffe. “State licensure provides important benefits for both parents and child care providers, and this website will help everyone get the information they need to provide children with the highest quality, safest care possible.”
The website is part of a package of reforms passed in 2015 to help Virginia families make informed decisions on child care. The reforms also included legislation requiring care providers to be licensed by the state to keep five or more children who aren’t related to them in their homes.
Local governments are now required to report to VDSS the contact information for any child care providers and family day homes that are issued a business license. And state law now requires unlicensed family day homes to notify parents of that fact up front and in writing.
On the website, parents will find information on various child care options, requirements and benefits of licensed providers, as well as guidance for researching and selecting quality child care. Current and prospective providers can learn how to become licensed and/or trained, review relevant legislation, and obtain professional development information and materials.
“We license child care providers because we want to make sure children are cared for in safe, healthy environments,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources Dr. Bill Hazel. “Helping make parents and providers aware of the licensing system and how it works will ensure everyone makes the healthiest choices possible for children.”
The site also includes community resources, such as search tools, child growth and development information, guidance on how to file a complaint, and a “What’s Changing” section that provides the most accurate, up-to-date information on changes to child care in Virginia.
“Our priorities are centered on education,” said Margaret Ross Schultze, Virginia Department of Social Services Commissioner. “Educating providers on how to provide safe, quality environments for children in their care is paramount. Equally important is educating parents by providing a resource to evaluate which child care program would be the best fit for their family.”