Family child care providers care for children in the provider's own home. The children could be in a mixed age group with a low adult-to-child ratio. Care can also potentially be personalized and individual. The hours may be more flexible and the provider may offer evening and weekend care for parents who work shifts. The cost in a family child care could be significantly lower on average than that of a center.
Child care facilities in the US have the option of becoming accredited. This standard is set and regulated by an outside agency. In centers, National Association for the Education of Young Children institutes it. For family child care providers, the National Association of Family Child Care Providers award the credentials.
Licensed or unlicensed home daycare is also referred to as family child care, or in home care. It refers to the care provided to a group of children in the home of a caregiver. State laws differ regarding rules for licensed versus unlicensed care. In Canada, most home daycares are unlicensed, and this is completely lawful. Licensing home daycares in Canada can help greatly with oversight, but at the cost of a large portion of the daycare provider's pay. Family child cares are small in size and provide families the same securities as a daycare center, and also has the benefits of flexible hours, lower costs, accessibility, and cultural compatibility. Home-based providers can give more individualized care and therefore better meet the needs of working families. In addition, family care generally has a small ratio of children in care, allowing for more interaction between child and provider than would be had at a commercial care center. Family child care helps foster emotionally secure interpersonal relationships for everyone involved. The providers are able to communicate each day with parents on a personal level and share information about the development of the child. Providers care for multi-aged groups of children allowing children to remain with one caregiver for many years which helps children develop a sense of trust and security. Multi-aged settings allow children to learn from one another and allow siblings to stay together. Some family child care providers may offer parents more flexibility with hours of operation such as evening, weekend, overnight, and before and after school care. In the United States, some family child care providers work with companies such as Wonderschool, for assistance in licensing, operations, marketing, and administrative support.