Head Start Policy and Regulations

1302.23 Family child care option.

(a) Setting. The family child care program option delivers the full range of services, consistent with §1302.20(b). Education and child development services are primarily delivered by a family child care provider in their home or other family-like setting. A program may choose to offer the family child care option if:

(1) The program has a legally binding agreement with one or more family child care provider(s) that clearly defines the roles, rights, and responsibilities of each party, or the program is the employer of the family child care provider, and ensures children and families enrolled in this option receive the full range of services described in subparts C, D, E, F, and G of this part; and,

(2) The program ensures family child care homes are available that can accommodate children and families with disabilities.

(b) Ratios and group size. (1) A program that operates the family child care option where Head Start children are enrolled must ensure group size does not exceed the limits specified in this section. If the family child care provider’s own children under the age of six are present, they must be included in the group size.

(2) When there is one family child care provider, the maximum group size is six children and no more than two of the six may be under 24 months of age. When there is a provider and an assistant, the maximum group size is twelve children with no more than four of the twelve children under 24 months of age.

(3) One family child care provider may care for up to four children younger than 36 months of age with a maximum group size of four children, and no more than two of the four children may be under 18 months of age.

(4) A program must maintain appropriate ratios during all hours of program operation. A program must ensure providers have systems to ensure the safety of any child not within view for any period. A program must make substitute staff and assistant providers available with the necessary training and experience to ensure quality services to children are not interrupted.

(c) Service duration. Whether family child care option services are provided directly or via contractual arrangement, a program must ensure family child care providers operate sufficient hours to meet the child care needs of families and not less than 1,380 hours per year.

(d) Licensing requirements. A family child-care provider must be licensed by the state, tribal, or local entity to provide services in their home or family-like setting. When state, tribal, or local requirements vary from Head Start requirements, the most stringent provision applies.

(e) Child development specialist. A program that offers the family child care option must provide a child development specialist to support family child care providers and ensure the provision of quality services at each family child care home. Child development specialists must:

(1) Conduct regular visits to each home, some of which are unannounced, not less than once every two weeks;

(2) Periodically verify compliance with either contract requirements or agency policy;

(3) Facilitate ongoing communication between program staff, family child care providers, and enrolled families; and,

(4) Provide recommendations for technical assistance and support the family child care provider in developing relationships with other child care professionals.

Historical Document