Types of Child Care in Oregon

Need Child Care?

This guide will help parents understand advantages and disadvantages of the different types of child care in Oregon. It also explains how to get licensed / listed as a child care provider.

Exempt Child Care—License Not Required

A child care provider does not have to be licensed if they...

  • Care for children on an occasional basis
  • Care for 3 or fewer children or children from only one family at a time, not including their own children
  • Are a primarily educational program for children three years old and older, but not attending kindergarten, for four or fewer hours a day
  • Provide care in the child’s own home
  • Are related to the child by blood, marriage or adoption

Some Advantages

  • May be friend or family member who knows your child
  • May be less expensive
  • May be more flexible
  • Home-like environment
  • Smaller group size

Some Disadvantages

  • Exempt from licensing
  • May not have had or passed a background check
  • Not monitored
  • No training required
  • May not be as reliable

Registered Family Child Care—Licensed

Provides care to more than 3 children, more than occasionally, in a location other than the child's own home. They may care for up to 10 children including their own (a maximumof 6 children preschool age or younger, of which only 2 may be under age two).

Some Advantages

  • Widely available and typically have flexible hours
  • Home-like environment
  • May have smaller group size
  • May be more affordable
  • Mixed age group, so siblings can be together
  • Provider and family have passed a background check
  • May have an unannounced monitoring visit at least once a year

Some Disadvantages

  • May not have a back-up if provider is unavailable
  • License renewed every 2 years
  • Provider only required to have 10 hours of training every 2 years
  • Quality varies

How to Get Licensed

This is a summary of how to become licensed. See Office of Child Care for complete details.

  1. Complete the following classes
    • Overview for Family Child Care
    • Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect
    • First Aid
    • Infant/Child CPR
    • Food Handlers
  2. Complete a Central Background Registry application for anyone 18 years or older in your household
  3. Complete the Registered Family Child Care application (4 to 6 weeks to process)
  4. Mail completed application, copies of certificates and cards from required classes and $30 application fee to Early Learning Division
  5. Prepare your home for a Health and Safety Review from the OCC Licensing Specialist (visit takes about 1 hour)
  6. Develop a business plan
  7. Develop contracts and policies
  8. Develop a record keeping system
  9. Market your business
  10. Find children to enroll in your program: Join our Provider Network

Certified Family Child Care—Licensed

Provides care for no more than 16 children in their own home. Number and ages of children depends on number of staff.

Some Advantages

  • Home-like environment
  • Inspected/monitored for health, safety, group size, adult/child ratios, and training; annually
  • Providers are required to have 15 hours of training annually
  • Provider and family have passed a background check

Some Disadvantages

  • Not as widely available
  • May not have substitutes
  •  May have a larger group size

How to Get Licensed

  1. Read the Certified Family Child Care Licensing Regulations
  2. Contact the local OCC Licensing Specialist for a consultation visit
  3. Visit other Certified Family Child Care businesses
  4. Talk with Child Care Partners (contact us) about availability of training to meet Certified Family Child Care requirements
  5. Consider taking a business class
  6. Talk to your local community about Planning and Zoning requirements
  7. Call the licensing specialist to complete a pre-certification visit
  8. Complete application and floor plan; and send to the Office of Child Care
  9. You will than receive a call from the Licensing Specialist, requesting that you call the local Health Department to schedule a Sanitation inspection
  10. When the Sanitation inspection is completed, call the licensing specialist for an evaluation
  11. Find children to enroll in your program: Join our Provider Network

Certified Child Care Center—Licensed

Provides care in a facility other than their own home. The number and ages of children is dependent on the number of staff working in the center and the square footage of the rooms children are in.

Some Advantages

  • Care is reliable – has substitutes
  • Inspected/monitored for health, safety, group size, adult/child ratios, and training; annually
  • Program may offer more structured activities
  • Providers are required to have 15 hours of training annually
  • All staff have passed a background check

Some Disadvantages

  • Less flexible hours
  • May be more expensive
  • May only take certain age children
  • Siblings may be in separate classrooms
  • Fewer choices

How to Get Licensed

  1. Read the Certified Child Care Center Licensing Regulations
  2. Contact the local OCC Licensing Specialist for a consultation visit
  3. Visit other Certified Child Care Centers
  4. Talk with Child Care Partners (contact us) about availability of training to meet Center staff requirements
  5. Consider taking a business class and/or meet with the Small Business Development Center at CGCC
  6. Talk to your local community about Planning and Zoning requirements
  7. Call the licensing specialist to complete a pre-certification visit
  8. Complete application and floor plan; and send to the Office of Child Care
  9. You will than receive a call from the Licensing Specialist, requesting that you call the local Health Department to schedule a Sanitation Inspection and the State Fire Marshal for a Fire Safety Inspection
  10. When the Sanitation inspection is completed, call the licensing specialist for an initial licensing inspection
  11. Find children to enroll in your program: Join our Provider Network

Preschool—Recorded

Preschools in Oregon are not required to be licensed, but are required to be recorded. This means that their staff have had a background check and the program has completed the Recorded Preschool application. Preschools operate for four or less hours a day. They are educational programs that serve children from 36 months to school age.

Some Advantages

  • 4 or fewer hours per day
  • Offers socialization opportunities for children not needing full day care
  • May offer a specific philosophy or curriculum
  • May be recorded with the state, which requires staff to pass a background check

Some Disadvantages

  • May not  be licensed or regulated by the state
  • Not monitored or inspected
  • Training not required by the state
  • May not be recorded
  • Staff may not have passed a background check

How to Get Recorded

  1. Complete a background check on all staff and volunteers 18 years and older who will have contact with children in the program
  2. Complete the preschool application
  3. Mail the application, verification of background checks, and $20 application fee to Office of Child Care
  4. Inform parents about your recorded status
  5. Post the program notice in a place where it can be seen
  6. Find children to enroll in your program: Join our Provider Network

Regulated Subsidy (DHS Listed)

DHS pays for child care while its clients are working or are in self-sufficiency activities. In order to be paid by DHS one must be a listed provider. Being listed with DHS is not the same as being a licensed provider with the Office of Child Care.

Changes in federal law require a yearly inspection and additional training of all license exempt child care providers listed with DHS, who provide care for a child receiving child care assistance. The visits and training requirements will start fall 2016. New providers will receive pre-service and yearly review visits from the Office of Child Care. Providers currently listed with DHS will receive annual visits starting in the fall.