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Understanding the Data

Center-Based Programs are independently operated or operate in schools, workplaces, individual homes (considered centers in a residence), churches or synagogues. Most are open on a fixed schedule, eight or more hours per day, Monday through Friday. Children in centers are usually grouped by age. As they grow, children often move into the next age group with a different caregiver. All centers must meet state regulations for the legal operation of a child care facility.

Child Care Subsidy — Financial assistance for income eligible families to secure NCDCDEE licensed child care while parents/guardians are working, attending school or job training activities.

GS 110-106 (Religious-sponsored child care facilities) are child care facilities or summer day camps operated by a church, synagogue or school of religious charter. While exempt from licensure, they must file a notice of intent to operate as a child care facility with the state. A religious-sponsored child care facility may choose to seek licensure, but if it does not, it must still meet state licensing requirements with the following exceptions: staff qualifications, staff training, written activity plans and developmentally appropriate activity centers.

Head Start and Early Head Start are federally-funded programs that provide free, comprehensive developmental services for children ages birth to five from low-income eligible families. These programs are child-focused and family-centered.

Licensure — Legal permission, granted by NCDCDEE, to operate a child care facility for more than two children for more than four hours a day. A license is issued according to the rules and regulations set forth by federal and state laws or local ordinances pertaining to a child’s health, safety and welfare.

Licensed Family Child Care Homes (FCCH) are operated by individuals who provide care in their homes for more than two children who are not related to them. These programs offer a home-like setting that provide the opportunity for siblings to stay together. A licensed FCCH may care for up to eight children, with no more than five preschool children in care at any given time. The caregiver’s own preschool-age children must be included in the number of preschoolers. However, their school-age children are not counted for licensing purposes. FCCH’s must provide age-appropriate toys and activities, nutritious meals and snacks and meet basic health and safety standards. All FCCH’s must meet licensing regulations for the legal operation of a child care facility.

NC Pre-K is a statewide, voluntary program that prepares eligible four-year-old children for school success by providing them with high quality pre-kindergarten experiences. The curricula used are child-centered, have a literacy and language focus and include parent participation. NC Pre-K classrooms operate in centers and school settings for 6.5 hours per day, follow the public school calendar and have no more than a one-to-nine staff-to-child ratio.

Part-Day Preschools operate for four hours or less per day serving children between the ages of birth to five years. License-exempt part-day preschools may voluntarily seek licensure and may pursue national accreditation. Typically, part-day programs operate on the same calendar year as the public school system, serving families where one parent is not employed full-time. Faith organizations and community-based not-for-profit organizations are the primary sponsors of part-day programs.

Public Pre-Kindergarten Programs include center-based classrooms for four-year-olds that are fully or partially publicly funded and operate under the direction of state, local and federal education and human service agencies.

Probationary License — A facility may be placed on probationary status when NCDCDEE determines that violations of child care requirements have been willful, continual or hazardous to the health or safety of children. This status shall not exceed one year.

Provisional License may be issued for up to 12 months when NCDCDEE determines that an operator is making a reasonable effort to comply fully and maintain compliance with all licensing requirements, to give the operator an opportunity to correct violations regarding building, fire and sanitation requirements and/or when child abuse or neglect occurred in a child care facility.

School-Age Child Care refers to programs for children before and/or after school hours and during school holidays and vacations. Family child care homes, child care centers and schools typically offer this type of care. Programs that operate for four hours or less per day are license-exempt, but may voluntarily seek state licensure or pursue national accreditation.

Star Rated License — Programs that apply for a 2- to 5-star license will be assessed under a two-component system that uses 1) Program Standards and 2) Staff Education to determine the license points for the star rating. In addition, all child care programs, regardless of the type of license they have, will also be required to maintain a 75% Compliance History. An additional “quality point” may be earned by child care programs to meet additional education or programmatic criteria not addressed under the Program Standards or Staff Education components.

Temporary License is given by NCDCDEE for a period of six months to a new program or to a previously licensed program (when a change in ownership or location occurs) after which it may apply for a higher than one star rating.