Understand the Different Types of Child Care in B.C.

Compare the four different types of child care in B.C.:

The Affordable Child Care Benefit is a monthly payment to help eligible families with the cost of child care. Use the online estimator to see if you qualify for savings. 


Licensed Child Care

Licensed child care facilities are monitored and regularly inspected by regional health authorities. They must meet specific requirements for health and safety, staffing qualifications, record keeping, space and equipment, child-to-staff ratios, and programming.

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Ages: From birth to 36 months

Maximum group size: 12 children

Child-to-staff ratio:

  • 1 to 4 children: 1 Infant Toddler Educator
  • 5 to 8 children: 1 Infant Toddler Educator and 1 Early Childhood Educator
  • 9 to 12 children: 1 Infant Toddler Educator, 1 Early Childhood Educator and 1 Early Childhood Educator Assistant

Staff qualifications:

  • Infant Toddler Educator Certificate (approximately 1300 hours of training)
  • Early Childhood Educator Certificate (approximately 900 hours of training)
  • Early Childhood Educator Assistant Certificate (completed one early childhood education course)

Setting: A community-based facility or centre

 

Group child care – 2.5 years old to school age

Ages: From 30 months to school age (Kindergarten)

Maximum group size: 25 children

Child-to-staff ratio:

  • 1 to 8 children: 1 Early Childhood Educator
  • 9 to 16 children: 1 Early Childhood Educator and 1 Early Childhood Educator Assistant
  • 17 to 25 children: 1 Early Childhood Educator and 2 Early Childhood Educator Assistants

Staff qualifications:

  • Early Childhood Educator Certificate (approximately 900 hours of training)
  • Early Childhood Educator Assistant Certificate (completed one early childhood education course)

Setting: A community-based facility or centre

Ages: School age (Kindergarten and up)

Maximum group size: 24 children from Kindergarten and Grade 1 OR 30 children from Grade 2 and older with no Kindergarten or Grade 1 children present

Staff-to-child ratio:

  • 1 responsible adult for each 12 children from Kindergarten and Grade 1
  • 1 responsible adult for each 15 children from Grade 2 and older

Staff qualifications: Responsible adults must be 19 years of age or older and able to provide care and mature guidance to children. Must also have 20 hours of child care-related training, relevant work experience, a valid first aid certificate and a clear criminal record check

Setting: A community-based facility or centre

Ages: From birth to 12 years old

Maximum group size: 8 children

Staff-to-child ratio: 1 Early Childhood Educator for 8 children

Staff qualifications: Early Childhood Educator Certificate (approximately 900 hours of training)

Setting: A community-based facility or centre

Ages: From birth to 12 years old

Maximum group size: 8 children

Staff-to-child ratio: 1 Early Childhood Educator (who is also the licensee) for 8 children

Staff qualifications: Early Childhood Educator Certificate (approximately 900 hours of training)

Setting: In the child care provider's own home

Ages: From birth to 12 years old

Maximum group size: 7 children

Staff-to-child ratio: 1 responsible adult (who is also the licensee) for 7 children

Staff qualifications: Must be 19 years of age or older and able to provide care and mature guidance to children. Must also have 20 hours of child care-related training, relevant work experience, a valid first aid certificate and a clear criminal record check

Setting: In the child care provider's own home

Preschools typically operate on the school-year (September to June). Most preschool programs run from one to four hours a day (some programs can run longer).

Ages: From 2.5 years (30 months) to school age (Kindergarten)

Maximum group size: 20 children

Child-to-staff ratio:

  • 1 to 10 children: 1 Early Childhood Educator
  • 11 to 20 children: 1 Early Childhood Educator and 1 Early Childhood Educator Assistant

Staff qualifications:

  • Early Childhood Educator Certificate (approximately 900 hours of training)
  • Early Childhood Educator Assistant Certificate (completed one early childhood education course)

Setting: A community-based facility or centre

This is drop-in child care that can be for a maximum of 8 hours a day and no more than 40 hours per calendar month.

Ages: 18 months old and up

Maximum group size: 16 children (if children under 36 months are present) OR 20 children (if no children under 36 months are present)

Staff to child ratio:

  • 1 responsible adult for every 4 children (if children under 36 months are present)
  • 1 responsible adult for every 8 children (if no children under 36 months are present)

Staff qualifications: Must be 19 years of age or older and able to provide care and mature guidance to children. Must also have 20 hours of child care-related training, relevant work experience, a valid first aid certificate and a clear criminal record check

Setting: A community-based facility or centre

 

 

Registered Licence-Not-Required Child Care

These are unlicensed care providers. They must have registered with a Child Care Resource and Referral Centre. To register, operators must have completed:

  • Criminal record checks (for everyone over age 12 living in the home)
  • Character references
  • A home safety assessment
  • First aid training
  • Child care training courses or workshops

Registered care providers also have access to support, training, resources and group liability insurance.

Ages: From birth to (and including) age 12

Maximum group size: Only two children or a sibling group who are not related to them

Staff-to-child ratio: 1 responsible adult per 2 children (or sibling group) per premises 

Staff qualifications: A responsible adult must be 19 years of age or older and able to provide care and mature guidance to children. They must also have 20 hours of child care-related training, relevant work experience, a valid first aid certificate and a clear criminal record check

Setting: In the child care provider's own home


Licence-Not-Required Child Care

These child care providers can operate legally in B.C. They are not registered or licensed and are not monitored or inspected. Unlicensed child care providers do not have to meet health or safety standards.

Legally, the child care providers can care for up to two children (or a sibling group) who are not related to them. They may be operating illegally if they have more than two children in their care.

Parents and guardians are responsible for overseeing the care and safety of their children in these care arrangements.

Ages: From birth to any age

Maximum group size: Only two children or a sibling group who are not related to them

Staff-to-child ratio: 1 adult per 2 children (or sibling group) per premises

Staff qualifications: No qualifications are required – this type of child care provider may or may not have had formal child care training or previous child care experience

Setting: In the child care provider's own home


In-Child's-Own-Home Care

This unlicensed care is when parents arrange for child care at home – like a nanny or a baby-sitter.

Children from other families cannot be included in this care. The care provider cannot be a relative who lives in the home.

It is not legally required to monitor this care. No specific qualifications are required for the child care provider. This means the child care provider may lack formal child care training or experience.

Parents or guardians must decide how to screen and hire the child care provider who becomes their employee. Under this arrangement, the employer needs to:

  • Make regular payments to Employment Insurance and Canada Pension Plan
  • Register the employment situation with Revenue Canada and WorkSafeBC