Table of contents

COVID-19 update

Child care operators should continue following applicable COVID guidelines and public health orders issued by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Updated guidance for fall 2021 is now available for Licensed Child Care Centres and Family Day Homes.

Call Child Care Connect toll free at 1-844-644-5165 for help finding child care or any questions you might have about child care in Alberta.

Overview

Child care is an essential part of Alberta’s economic recovery. When parents and caregivers go to work or school, they need to know their children are safe and have the resources they need to grow and thrive.

Choosing quality child care for your family is a very important decision. You want to find a safe, healthy environment that supports the social, physical, intellectual, creative and emotional development of your children.

Updated legislation

The Early Learning and Child Care Act and regulation improve the standard for quality and safety in licensed programs, provide more information and transparency for parents and streamline and modernize licensing processes so licensed providers have more time to support children.

Types of child care

In Alberta, there are 2 types of child care under the act and regulation: licensed and unlicensed. This makes it easy for parents to know which options are regulated by the government and which are not.

Licensed child care

Facility-based

Licensed facility-based programs include:

  • daycare
  • out-of-school care
  • preschool

The Alberta government works collaboratively with licensed facility-based programs by monitoring and inspecting their centres to ensure they are meeting health, safety and program quality standards for children in their care under the Early Learning and Child Care Act.

Home-based

Family day home educators are recruited and trained by licensed family day home agencies to offer child care in their own home. Family day home educators can offer child care for up to 6 children not including their own.

Licensed agencies help by offering family day home educators a network for training, resources and assistance. Agencies provide assurance to parents using family day homes by monitoring each program to ensure they are meeting health, safety and program quality standards for children in their care as prescribed under the Family Day Home standards and the act.

Learn how to become a family day home educator.

For more information about the different types of child care, see the Early Learning and Child Care Regulation.

Unlicensed child care

Unlicensed child care programs can provide child care for up to 6 children, not including their own, at any given time. Unlicensed providers are not monitored by the Alberta government or licensed agencies.

Examples of unlicensed care include:

  • nannies
  • private day homes
  • informal arrangements with friends
  • neighbours or family

Under the act, the Alberta government can investigate complaints about unlicensed child care providers when there is reason to believe that:

  • a person is providing care for more than 6 children (not including their own), or
  • an imminent threat exists to the health, safety or welfare of any children to whom the person is offering or providing care.

If either of these are confirmed, Children’s Services will issue and enforce a stop order. In this situation, parents of the children in the unlicensed program will be notified of the stop order.

Call Child Care Connect

If you are concerned about the health, safety or well-being of your child or another child in an unlicensed child care program, call Child Care Connect toll free at 1-844-644-5165 to report your concerns.

Choosing Child Care Guide

Choosing the right child care for your family can be a difficult decision with lots to consider. Read the Choosing Child Care Guide to help you find and choose quality child care in Alberta.

Choosing Child Care Guide

Use the checklist in the guide so you know what to look for, what questions to ask, and for specific details to consider when choosing child care.

Use Child care lookup to find licensed options near you.

Children needing extra support

Children with special needs can get support from the Inclusive Child Care Program in licensed daycare, out-of-school care and preschool programs, and through a licensed family day home agency.

Inclusive Child Care Programs create flexibility to meet the individual needs of children with special needs or disabilities within these child care settings. Support may include training for child care staff, consultation on programming for inclusion, resource and referral information or funding for additional staff.

Call Child Care Connect

For information about the availability of this service in your community, call Child Care Connect toll free at 1-844-644-5165.

Other supports are available for families and children with disabilities through the Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD) program.

Help with child care fees

Child care subsidies are available to offset the cost of licensed child care for eligible lower-income families.

If you need help paying for child care fees, you can find information about funding and determine your family’s eligibility through the Child Care Subsidy program.

Call Child Care Connect

Parents can call Child Care Connect toll free at 1-844-644-5165:

  • Learn about child care options in your area.
  • Get help finding the licensed child care program in your community that works best for your family.
  • Find out if your unlicensed provider has been issued an order to stop providing child care within the past 24 months.
  • Report concerns, complaints or incidents related to a child care program.

If you have concerns

If you have concerns with your own provider or one in your community – whether they’re a licensed or unlicensed – Call Child Care Connect. Early learning and Child Care staff will help you report concerns, complaints or incidents related to the health and safety or well-being of children in a child care setting.

You can also call Child Care Connect if you suspect someone is providing child care to 6 or more children (not including their own).

All complaints received are taken seriously and reviewed:

  1. Early Learning and Child Care staff will determine if your complaint falls under the scope of the act and regulation, or the Family Day Home Standards.
  2. If your complaint is within the scope of the legislation, regulation, or standards, an investigation will be conducted. Some complaints may fall within the scope of another authority and be referred to police, fire department, municipal government, public health, Child Intervention, or another organization.
  3. Every effort will be made to protect the identity of a complainant, unless criminal charges or civil litigation makes disclosure necessary.

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