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The Office of Child Care Licensing is responsible for licensing Family Child Care, Large Family Child Care, Early Care and Education and School-Age Centers, Child Placing Agencies, Residential Child Care Facilities and Day Treatment Programs for children and youth. 

Today Providers of child care are being challenged to meet the ever increasing demands to serve children.  The field of out-of-home care for children has changed over the years as society has changed.  Welcome to the OCCL Providers page!As we have gained more knowledge of the importance of the early years to the future of a child “day care” has developed and evolved into what is now referred to as Early Care and Education.  Foster Care and Residential care have also changed their focus faced with a population of youth with more complex needs.  Today these types of care are part of a continuum of alternative care arrangements. 

The Office of Child Care Licensing, staying true to its Mission, is committed to working with Providers to offer information, resources and technical assistance that will ensure safeguards and enhance quality for children in out of home care in Delaware.

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Emergency Planning in Early Care and Education Sites Emergency Planning in Early Care and Education Sites

The experience of Hurricane Katrina reminded us all of how the forces of nature and other elements beyond our control can change the course of a moment, day and even years in our lives.  Of particular note was the suffering of children and the lack of forethought and thorough preparation for dealing with the needs of some of our most vulnerable citizens.  Since that time great attention has been given to ensure that when a disaster strikes that communities will be able to face what comes their way and better protect and care for our citizens.

The Delacare Rules for Early Care and Education and School Age Centers, Family and Large Family Child Care Homes have all been revised since Katrina.  When they were revised additional requirements were added to better ensure that the needs of children in licensed care would be attended to.

Some basic points on the subject of Emergency Planning:

  • During emergencies the Office of Child Care Licensing will adopt a “common sense” approach when monitoring compliance with Delacare Rules, e.g. Providers will not be responsible for complying with Delacare Rules for food service and CACFP guidelines.
  • OCCL will not be denying applications for renewal or moving to impose a Warning of Probation, Probation, or Revocation solely based on the Provider’s failure to submit an appropriate Emergency Plan.
  • Basic supplies should be on-hand including food, water, blankets as you would want to have in the case of an emergency.
  • A setting should be identified and an agreement arranged for an alternative temporary site to which the children and Staff can be evacuated when such a need arises.
  • The Emergency Plan should be developed using the resources listed below or distributed during a class* endorsed by the Delaware Emergency Management Agency.
  • Note:  Free classes on developing a Child Care Emergency Plan are offered periodically in Delaware.   Information about these classes will be posted in the “Announcements” section at the top of this page whenever they are being offered.  OCCL suggests you check this frequently.

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Position Qualification Approval (Early Care and Education and School-Age Centers) Position Qualification Approval - Early Care and Education and School-Age Centers

Early Care and Education and School-Age Centers should move promptly to begin the qualification approval process for each staff member.  Programs should carefully review the Delacare Rules for Early Care and Education and School-Age Centers specific Rules on Staff Qualifications with their staff. 

The Staff person should complete the application.  All supporting documentation should be included with the application at the time it is submitted for review. The application should be filed as soon as the individual determines that they meet the qualifications and has all the supporting documentation to verify their qualifications. Incomplete applications or applications that lack documentation to verify that an individual meets the qualifications will be returned to the sender.  The determination on the application will be sent to the individual.  Center Administrators should request a copy of the approval from the staff member and retain the approval as proof of compliance with Delacare Rules.

The Office of Child Care Licensing works with Delaware First to review and approve Qualifications for individuals working in Early Care and Education and School-Age Centers.  Individuals seeking to be qualified for a position in a Delaware licensed Early Care and Education or School-Age Center must complete required forms and submit supporting documentation for review.  Approval for the following titles must be obtained through Delaware First:

  • Early Childhood Administrator
  • Early Childhood Curriculum Coordinator
  • Early Childhood Teacher
  • Early Childhood Assistant Teacher
  • Early Childhood Intern
  • School-Age Administrator
  • School-Age Site Coordinator
  • School-Age Site Assistant
  • School-Age Intern

When submitting an application to Delaware First the individual should apply for the highest position for which they qualify, regardless of the position in which they are currently working.  Qualifying for the higher position makes the individual qualified for any position below that title.  Centers can assign person as they see fit to any position for which the individual qualifies. 

Information concerning the qualifying process and forms for these positions is available at

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Early Care and Education and School-Age Care Early Care and Education and School-Age Care

With increasing emphasis on the educational outcomes of our children through such initiatives as “No Child Left Behind” and, in Delaware “Vision 2015”, a closer look is being given to Early Care and Education.  Research on brain development continues to shed more light on how the foundations of learning become structured in the brain, particularly the connections developed in the first three years of life.  The infant brain has almost endless possibilities for learning!  More information about the field of Early Care and Education is available at this website at Careers in Early Care and Education

Since so many children, particularly of pre-school age, are in some type of out-of-home care the importance of the role of the Early Care and Education provider has been recognized for the potential that provider has to change the lives of the children for whom they provide care.  Again, research has identified characteristics that are associated with a “quality” out-of-home care experience for children.  The foremost characteristic associated with quality care is the qualifications of the person providing care.  Information about the core competencies associated with Early Care and Education may be found at the Delaware First website Early Care and Education and School-Age Center Rules that became effective January 1, 2007 reflect a belief in the importance of the development and enhancement of core competencies by the Field by delineating the topic areas of training which should be pursued. This first step in raising the qualifications for those providing care was followed by revised Rules for Family Child Care Home and Large Family Child Care Home Licensees and Staff.

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OCCL Forms and Helpful Resources OCCL Forms and Helpful Resources

Get involved! Children and Families First maintains a list of Professional Organizations and Support Groups on their website.

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