The Bureau of Certification Services is responsible for the regulation of all child care centers, group day care homes and family day care homes in Pennsylvania.
The Certification Bureau receives inquiries regarding a variety of topics, including:
- The requirements and process for opening a child care facility.
- The statutes and regulations for operating a child care facility.
- The status and compliance history of specific facilities.
- The complaints regarding child care facilities.
Child care providers operating a program for four or more unrelated children must be certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. The Department regulates three types of child care facilities:
- Child Care Center: A child care facility in which seven or more children who are not related to the operator receive child care. A child care center must have a certificate of compliance (“license”) from the Department of Human Services (DHS) in order to legally operate.
- Group Child Care Home: A child care facility in which seven through 12 children of various ages or in which seven through 15 children from 4th grade through 15 years of age who are not related to the operator receive child care. A group child care home must have a certificate of compliance (“license”) from DHS in order to legally operate.
- Family Child Care Home: A child care facility located in a home in which four, five, or six children who are not related to the caregiver receive child care. A family child care home must have a certificate of compliance (“license”) from DHS in order to legally operate.
In 2014, the federal law that oversees and provides funding for child care assistance (Child Care Development Block Grant- CCDBG) was reauthorized for the first time since 1996. In an effort to support families with access to safe, reliable child care, the law required family child care homes and friend/neighbor caregivers receiving child care subsidy to become certified by November 2016.
- Visit the PA Department of Human Services website for links to child care regulations, forms, contact information, orientation schedules and other important information.
- Effective August 1, child care providers with full certificates of compliance that do not currently have a Keystone STARS rating will be recognized and awarded a STAR 1 rating in Keystone STARS.
- Sign up for the Certification E-News to stay up to date on regulations changes and tips to meet child care regulations.
- If you are looking at how to apply, please visit the Certification First Steps page.
- Two additional Certification resources for current providers: