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

Some child care providers in B.C. have a licence from their local health authority or are registered with a Child Care Resource and Referral Centre.

Review the different types of child care.


Licensed Child Care

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

Learn more about child care licensing requirements:

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


Registered Licence-Not-Required Child Care

Registered licence-not-required child care providers are unlicensed but have registered with a Child Care Resource and Referral Centre. To become a registered licence-not-required provider, 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)

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

Licence-not-required child care providers can operate legally in B.C. Since they are not registered or licensed, they are not monitored or inspected and they do not have to meet standards for health or safety.

Unlicensed child care providers are allowed to 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 children in their care than is allowed.

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)

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 type of unlicensed care is when parents arrange for child care within their own home – like a nanny or a baby-sitter who takes care of their children.

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

There are no legal requirements for monitoring this type of care and no specific qualifications for the care provider are required, which means the child care provider may or may not have formal child care training or experience.

Parents or guardians must decide how to screen and hire the child care provider who becomes their employee, and under this arrangement, they need to:

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