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​Early Learning

Child Care Certification Regulation Rewrite Project (Impact Project)

Pennsylvania's Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) is embarking on an initiative to rewrite the child care certification regulations. This rewrite will be an opportunity for the early childhood and school-age community in Pennsylvania to co-create regulations in a way that builds stakeholder confidence in the process and:

  • Increases alignment with quality improvement;
  • Promotes greater equity; and
  • Decreases burden experienced by child care providers
LEARN MORE: Visit The Pennsylvania Key for videos, FAQs and additional information about the Impact Project

ARPA Stabilization Grants

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has made American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Stabilization Grants available to eligible child care providers. These grants and the required reporting will be completed in the Professional Development (PD) Registry. How to apply, eligibility and reporting requirements can be found on the Pennsylvania Key website

Federal Requirements for Health & Safety Training

The Federal Reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) will require all staff in certified child care programs to participate in trainings on 10 critical health and safety topics by September 30, 2017. Child Care Certification Representatives will be available to help programs meet this deadline. 

Announcement for
Family Child Care Homes

Effective December 28, 2015, Governor Wolf signed a law that requires family child care homes to become certified or licensed. A family child care homes' current certificate of registration is valid until replaced by a certificate of compliance or license. In addition, 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 federal law also requires family child care homes to become certified. Find out more about the steps and resources available to help Family Child Care Homes become certified here.

Announcement for Friend/Neighbor Caregivers receiving child care subsidy 

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 will require family child care homes and friend/neighbor caregivers receiving child care subsidy to become certified by November 2016. Find out more about the steps and resources available to help Friend/Neighbor caregivers become certified.

Apply for or Renew a Child Care Certification online with Provider
Self Service (PSS)

New and existing Child Care Providers can now use Provider Self Service (PSS) to apply for or renew child care licensing, submit online attendance invoices, update provider profiles, and much more. Find out more about Provider Self Services


The Renewal Inspection Process:
What to Expect

All certified child care providers in Pennsylvania are subject to an annual inspection of the facility. A certification representative with the Office of Child Development and Early Learning will conduct a renewal inspection of the facility at least once every 12 months. 

Upon completion of the inspection, the provider will be notified of the Department's findings on an inspection summary report. Please see the following video for more information on what to expect during the renewal inspection process



Ten- to 15-minute videos regarding important information about operating a child care facility

  • Requirements for an Effective Director of Child Care Center
    Child care directors are responsible for the overall management of a successful child care center. This video explains the commitments directors must make to ensure proper communication with staff and parents, maintain up-to-date child and staff files, have knowledge of the Pennsylvania child care regulations, and provide oversight for the overall health and safety of children in care. 

  • Supervision
    Supervision is the most critical requirement in keeping children healthy and safe while they are in care. Staff must always be able to see, hear, direct and assess children at all times in order to provide proper supervision. The following video is helpful in providing a more in-depth look at supervision, as well as guidance to help staff meet this requirement. 

  • Writing a Plan of Correction
    All certified child care facilities are required to undergo an annual inspection. Many times, a facility is in full compliance with all the regulations. However, there are occasions when the Legal Entity has to be cited for non-compliance with one or more of the child care regulations. This video explains the process for writing and submitting a plan of correction for regulatory violations that your certification representative may cite during a licensing inspection. 

  • Staff Files
    A child care provider needs to ensure there is a complete file for each staff person working in the facility. The following video explains the Pennsylvania child care regulations regarding staff files and describes the documentation required to be on file.

Becoming an Early Intervention
Service Provider

Interested parties should approach the County EI program and express an interest in becoming an Early Intervention provider. The County EI program will assure that interested parties meet state-approved/recognized certification or licensing requirements and that the required pre-service training requirements are met. Interested parties must obtain the necessary background clearances, including child abuse and criminal history clearances. Potential waiver providers must complete a Provider Agreement for Participation in the Medical Assistance program for Early Interventions services in the Infants, Toddlers and Families Waiver.

Family Child Care: What to Expect In an Inspection

All family child care homes in Pennsylvania are required to earn a Certificate of Compliance as a CERTIFIED, also called LICENSED, child care provider. The process to get certified/licensed includes annual unannounced inspections of family child care homes.

Conducted by Certification Representatives from the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), under the Department of Human Services (DHS), the annual unannounced inspections will help family child care homes meet regulatory standards for providing safe and healthy environments for children.

OCDEL worked with the Pennsylvania Key, Better Kid Care and several experienced family child care programs to produce this introductory video on what providers can expect during an inspection.