Your Child Care Options
Agenda for Children’s Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) staff can assist parents and caregivers in Southeast Louisiana with information about their child care options.
- Early Learning Centers
- Family Child Care Homes
- Head Start and Early Head Start
- Montessori Programs
- Parents’ Day Out Programs
- School-Based Preschool Programs
- Out-of-School-Time Care
- Summer Camps
- Type III Centers
- Type II Centers
- Type I Centers
Early Learning Centers
Early Learning Centers are programs licensed by the Louisiana Department of Education that serve seven or more children. In Louisiana, child care centers may be licensed as Type I, Type II and Type III. Regulations for the types differ in several ways, including their staff training requirements, staff to child ratios and the allowable forms of discipline. Only Type III centers may accept payments from the Child Care Assistance Program (if you are eligible). Type I and Type II centers may not.
Type III Centers: Type III centers can accept Child Care Assistance (and other types of public funds). They are required to participate in the state’s rating system for early care and education, which means that:
- parents can find information about the program’s quality on louisianaschools.com, include ratings, curriculum quality and teacher credentials
- trained observers visit every classroom twice a year to observe the program’s quality; observation results are used to create an overall program rating
- lead teachers must have at least a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential
- parents may be eligible for School Readiness Tax Credits based on the program’s rating
Type II Centers: Type II centers only accept private pay (meaning they cannot accept Child Care Assistance). They cannot participate in the rating system for early childhood education programs and parents aren’t able to get School Readiness Tax Credits for sending their children to a Type II center.
Type I Centers: Type I centers only accept private pay (meaning they cannot accept Child Care Assistance) and are owned by religious organizations. They cannot participate in the rating system for early childhood education programs and parents aren’t able to get School Readiness Tax Credits for sending their children to a Type I center.
Family Child Care Homes
Family child care homes are programs located in the home of the caregiver that serve up to six children. In Louisiana, family child care (FCC) programs are not licensed by the state, but FCC programs that receive payments through the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and/or the Food program must register with state agencies and meet certain space, nutrition and training requirements.
Head Start and Early Head Start
Head Start and Early Head Start are federally funded programs offering free early care and education programming and other family-related services to low- and moderate-income families. Head Start may be offered in a child care center, a family child care home or through a public school.
Montessori programs follow the Montessori philosophy, which stresses children’s self-directed development. They may be licensed by and/or registered with the Louisiana Department of Education.
Parents’ Day Out Programs
Parents’ Day Out programs typically provide care for a few hours a day. They may also operate for only part of the week. Parents’ Day Out programs are not required to be licensed by state agencies as long as they operate for fewer than 12.5 hours per week.
School-Based Preschool Programs
Preschool programs are offered by many public and private schools. Most public pre-k programs have eligibility requirements based on income and/or exceptionalities (disabilities or giftedness).
Out-of-school-time programs offer care for school-aged children during times that traditional schools are closed, including before and after school, holidays and summer. Out-of-school time providers are not required to be licensed by state agencies in Louisiana.
Summer camps serve children during summer break. Some summer camp programs operate for the whole summer, while others may be open for just a few weeks. Camps vary widely in terms of which age groups they serve. Summer camps that serve children ages five and older (and only operate when school is not in session) are not required to be licensed or regulated by state agencies in Louisiana.
Carol Bebelle is a poet, visionary and co-founder of the Ashé Cultural Arts Center in New Orleans whose work has touched countless New Orleans children, families and culture-bearers. Under her leadership, Ashé not only offered regular arts programming, but also year-round children’s programs and free summer camps.
In 2020, we passed zoning changes through the New Orleans municipal government which simplify and expedite zoning regulations for child care providers, making it easier for providers to expand their operations and increase capacity to serve families in need.