Types of Licensed Child Care

Types of Licensed Child Care in Massachusetts

Family Child Care
Care is provided in the home of a person licensed by the state. There are 3 types of family child care:

  • Regular family child care - care provided by one adult for up to 6 children

  • Large family child care - care provided for up to 10 children with at least 2 adults

  • Family child care plus - care provided for 6 children, plus 2 school age children
The provider must be at least 18 years old and have experience in caring for children. The provider must attend a family child care orientation, have training in CPR and First Aid, and attend additional hours of training to maintain his/her license. The provider's home must be safe, clean and of sufficient size.

Child Care Center
This is a group child care setting for infants, toddler and preschoolers. Programs group the children by age, with class sizes and child/teacher ratios determined by state regulations. Child care centers are typically open all year and may offer part-day or part-week schedules in addition to full time care.

  • Infants: A child from 1 month to 14 months of age. Child/teacher ratio is 3/1

  • Toddlers: A child from 15 months to 2 years, 8 months. Child/teacher ratio is 4/1

  • Preschoolers: A child from 2 years, 9 months to kindergarten. Child/teacher ratio is 10:1

Preschool (Also known as Nursery School)
Preschool programs offer only part time sessions (part-week, part-day or both) usually for children 2 years, 9 months to kindergarten age. Generally these programs run on a school year schedule, are closed during school vacations and holidays, and may or may not offer a summer session.

School Age Child Care
A group setting in which care is provided for children Kindergarten age and up, before and/or after school and possibly during school vacations. These programs may be operated by public or private schools, or by community or private agencies. The child/teacher ratio is 13:1.

For Child Care Centers, Preschool and School Age programs the following applies:

  • A program that is safe, clean, comfortable, of adequate size, free from hazards, and has passed all local building, health, and lead paint inspections.

  • Evidence that all staff are qualified for their positions and that staff are appropriately supervised.

  • Evidence that EEC required staff to child ratios are always maintained.

For the complete list of EEC license regulations visit their web site at:

Other types of care that are not licensed by the state include care by an adult in the child s home, care provided by a relative in the relative s home, and programs run by public or private schools. Summer camps are licensed by the Board of Health in each individual city or town.