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Child care settings play a fundamental role in supporting the development of healthy children. Over half of all children between the ages of zero and five spend significant time in non-parental child care, positioning this setting to have a profound and long-lasting impact on a child’s health, learning, and long-term success. There are important opportunities to take meaningful action to decrease rates of chronic disease and obesity and support the growth of healthy children. The results can contribute to building a community where children and families can thrive.
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The Public Health Law Center is mapping the early care and education (ECE) food policy environment, beginning with licensed home-based child care settings in Minnesota. This interactive policy visualization will evolve as we research other aspects of quality across the range of ECE settings.
This interactive map compares scientifically-based best practices with states’ child care licensing regulations on healthy eating, active play and screen time limits. Click through the child care settings and best practices to see states change colors based on whether they meet best practices. This analysis does not address implementation, or how regulations account for the priorities of providers and children from socially disadvantaged and marginalized groups.
Each state regulates the child care setting differently, depending on the type of child care facility and provider. The Public Health Law Center has developed a 50-state analysis of child care licensing laws, including state statutes and licensing regulations. We have compiled and highlighted the laws in each state for easy review by advocates and policy makers.
Child care provided in the home of the provider (“family child care”) is vitally important for addressing issues of equity and health equity in the lives of millions of children. The Public Health Law Center recently completed a project seeking to understand how quality is defined, assessed, and measured in family child care settings through policy. These settings are diverse, and create both challenges and opportunities for defining and implementing quality.
Regulatory standards play a critical role in establishing norms and important baseline protections for the health and safety of children receiving non-parental care. Recent studies found that state regulations generally do not provide adequate nutrition or physical activity standards. Local governments represent untapped potential for improving child care nutrition and physical activity standards where states have failed to do so.