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Chapter 12. Child Care: Life on the High... > The Difference Between Family Day Ca...

The Difference Between Family Day Care and Day Care Centers

The primary difference between family day care and a day care center is location. Family day care is where young children are cared for in someone's home. Often the number of children is small, perhaps two or three at a time, or just one family of children at a time. There are more professional family care centers, still housed in a home, but where there might be as many as 12 children and two adults. Although the setting can be cozy and economical, there are a few issues to consider: you could be caught without a place to bring your child if the day care provider is not feeling well, if there's been a death in that person's family, or during holidays. In this situation, you would have to make other plans for those days or that week. Another consideration is that even though the person may be terrific and wonderful with your children, his or her home may not be a licensed family day care center. Licensed family day care centers are expected to operate under the strict guidelines set up by the state, county, or both regarding the health and safety of the children in that center, and the training of those working there.

A day care center is a more formal center where the children are grouped according to age and supervised by trained staff. Day care centers frequently open early in the morning and close some time after the supper hour. Day care centers are usually open during holidays. Though not as relaxed as someone's home, day care centers are required to be licensed and regulated. The staff frequently receives training in CPR, first aid, and age-appropriate activities for children.


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