The Office of Early Childhood (OEC) helps make sure that child care programs and camps are safe, healthy places for children to learn and grow.
Learn about your options for licensed child care programs and camps.
How can I find child care programs and camps near me?
The easiest way is to use the 2-1-1 Child Care online search tool. The tool allows you to search by name or location and can give you key information about programs in your area, including:
- Ages of children they serve
- Inspection and violation history
- Provider’s experience and qualifications
If you prefer, you can dial 2-1-1 (or 800-505-1000) to get this information. You can also call 2-1-1 Child Care and ask to speak to a Child Care Referral Specialist. They’ll help you find the services that will best fit the needs of you and your family — all at no cost.
What types of child care are available?
In Connecticut, there are a few different types of licensed child care:
- Family child care homes. These are child care programs that a person opens in their home. They’re usually smaller and may have up to 6 to 9 children.
- Child care centers. These are bigger child care programs, like day care centers or after-school programs. They may have more than 12 children.
- Group child care homes. These are less common, and they might be in someone’s home or in a building like a school. They may have up to 12 children.
There are also some child care programs that, by law, don’t need to have a license, like some programs run by schools. These programs don’t need to follow the health and safety standards required of licensed programs.
1. Safety. We inspect licensed child care providers to make sure they’re safe and healthy places to learn. We require that licensed providers get background checks and health check-ups, too.
2. High-quality care. Licensed providers and staff have to meet training requirements, including First Aid. We also have limits on the number of children in a licensed child care at one time, so you’ll know your child is getting the attention they deserve.
3. Support. If you have a problem with a licensed child care program, you can always call OEC to get help or file a complaint.
How do I choose?
Figure out what you need
Make a list of what’s most important. Some things to consider:
- What are the hours?
- How far is it from your home or work?
- How much does it cost?
- Does your child have any special needs that the program will need to accommodate?
Once you have a clear sense of what you need, you’ll be able to assess your options.
Look into financial assistance
If you need help covering the costs of child care or camps in Connecticut, learn about programs and organizations that can help.
Check the program’s record
Once you have a list of a few licensed programs or camps, use 2-1-1 Child Care’s online search tool to get more information about them. You can use the tool’s results to:
- Confirm the program is licensed
- View the history of licensing violations and complaints for a provider or program
- View copies of actual inspection reports and provider’s or program’s corrective action plans
Plan a visit
Call and schedule visits at a few different options — and bring your child with you. 2-1-1 Childcare has quality checklists you can use when you’re visiting.
While you’re there, ask about past inspections. By law, OEC inspects all licensed child care facilities every year and write a report. If you ask, child care programs are required to let you see the most recent report.