EO’s mission is to research, pilot, and scale innovative solutions so that people and communities can thrive.

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As the needs of Southwest Virginians change, so too do the best practices for meeting those needs.

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Join us in our fight for our friends and neighbors in Southwest Virginia by exploring the options below.

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Together, we can create endless opportunities for our region to thrive.

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FIND Childcare in SWVA!

Early childhood experiences, ages birth to 5, are essential to a child’s long-term success! Find a childcare program in Southwest Virginia (SWVA) that is right for you and your family.

Across Southwest Virginia and in your community, there are many opportunities for your child to be part of a high-quality childcare program that promotes learning and development to ensure children have a strong start. Early child care and education services are provided across diverse settings, including Child Care Centers, Family Day Homes, Head Starts, and School Systems (VPI).

Navigating your choices can be difficult, but EO can help! As the lead for Ready Region Southwest, EO maintains information about all publicly funded providers. We can connect you to programs in your area at the Birth-to-Five Hub

Types of Early Childhood Care and Education Programs

Head Start and Early Head Start offer services at no cost to children ages birth to 5 in for eligible families. These programs support children's growth through services centered around early learning and development, health, and family well-being. Head Start and Early Head Start staff actively engage parents, recognizing family participation throughout the program as key to strong child outcomes.

Early Head Start services work with families that have children ages birth to 3, and many also serve expectant families. Programs deliver child development services in center-based or, home-based settings.

Head Start preschool services work with children ages 3 to 5 and their families. Many programs operate both Head Start preschool and Early Head Start services.

Mixed Delivery is available in many communities in Virginia and allows families the option of choosing a high-quality, publicly funded, private ECCE provider (center or family day home) that meets their child and family’s needs and preferences. High-quality ECCE services provide children with nurturing and responsive care that prepares them for success in school and life. Quality ECCE services can increase child and parent wellbeing, reduce the need for special education, increase high school and college graduation, and increase income in adulthood. Importantly, affordable, or free ECCE services can also raise children and families out of poverty.

Learn more about Mixed Delivery

The Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) provides high-quality preschool education for children that have been identified as at-risk. Through a focus on advancing effective interaction and instruction, VPI programs help ensure all Virginia children enter school fully prepared for success. VPI programs are called to make continuous quality improvements in 1) use of integrated, evidence-based curriculum, 2) assessing teacher-child interactions, and 3) providing individualized professional development.

Licensed - When you select a licensed care provider in Virginia, you are selecting a qualified professional in the field of early education with a commitment to providing a safe and healthy environment for children by demonstrating compliance with regulations. Licensed child day programs can be offered in a child day center or in a family day home. Licensed child care programs have an initial inspection and two unannounced inspections per year. Additional inspections are made as a result of violations, allegations and/or complaints. Requirements include background checks, education, training/orientation, and health and safety standards. The number of children allowed in licensed care varies per center or family day home - based on determining factors such as the total square footage in centers and adequate space in homes. The maximum capacity can be identified on the provider’s posted license certificate.

Unlicensed (but Regulated) - Some programs offering child day care obtain a general business license to operate from the county within which they do business; however, that license is not the same as a child day care license obtained from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), which holds the child day care provider accountable to the health and safety standards set forth by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Unlicensed (but Regulated) child care programs vary in their requirements. These programs are not licensed by VDOE, but do receive oversight in certain areas.

For example:

Voluntarily registered family day homes are required to be inspected prior to certification, and every two years thereafter, to complete background checks and meet certain health and safety standards.

Religiously exempt child care centers are required to complete background checks and must self-certify prior to beginning operation, and annually thereafter, that the program is in compliance with background checks and health and safety requirements. Religious exempt centers may receive an annual Code compliance inspection.

Certified preschools are operated by an accredited private school and are required to complete background checks and must self-certify prior to certification, and annually thereafter, regarding criminal record clearances on all employees, a list of staff qualifications, and health and fire inspection reports.

Need help paying for childcare?

The Child Care Subsidy Program assists families in paying child care costs for children under age 13 who are not eligible to attend public school during the part of the day when public education is available, or children with special needs under age 18 who reside with the applicant. If you are eligible and are approved for services, the Subsidy Program can pay a portion of your child care costs directly to the child care provider.

For additional information please visit https://www.childcare.virginia.gov/families/paying-for-child-care or visit Common Help to apply online.

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