Types of Child Care

Information about types of child care and choosing quality care.

Page updated on Nov 4, 2020 at 4:16 PM

Types of Child Care

Quality Programs

For information on how to identify quality, licensed child care programs, visit www.childcareva.com
To search for specific programs and review their inspection results, see the state licensing website at the links below.

For COVID-19 Emergency Child Care options and registration information, see Alexandria Emergency Child Care Collaborative.

Child Care Centers

...provide group care for children, usually from 6 weeks to 5 years of age. Centers are open for a full day year round and some provide transportation. There are infant child care centers and centers that include programs for school age children. Child care centers must be licensed by the Virginia Department of Social Services. In Alexandria, they must also have a Special Use Permit, which, depending on the location, may be permitted to be approved by staff, after issues such as parking and access for pick up and drop off have been reviewed. There are standards for staff qualifications, staff/child ratios, program content, safety and sanitation.


...part-day, part-year preschools provide group care for the preschool age child, but are not
open all day or all year round. Part-time preschools offer your child an opportunity to spend a part of the day learning and socializing with other children. Child care centers and part-time preschools can be found on the  state licensing website , under Child Day Centers..

Family Child Care Homes

...are private homes in which an adult provides care for children. All family child care homes in Alexandria caring for 5 or fewer children must be registered with the Early Childhood Division. Persons caring for more than five children (including their own under 14) must have an assistant, a Special Use Permit from the City and a license from the state.

Family child care is often used for infants and toddlers by parents who prefer a home-like and informal learning environment for their children. It can also offer flexibility to parents who are not working standard work hours. Family child care homes can be found  here and on the  state licensing website.

Before and After School Child Care Programs

...are supervised programs for the school age child that operate when school is not in session. In addition to before and after school, they often cover holiday breaks and snow days. Some have full day summer programs. Care is provided in centers and in family child care homes.

Campagna Kids provides academic and social enrichment to elementary school age children through before/after school and summer camp programs. Based in local elementary schools, the program is State licensed and follows national standards for afterschool programs which are much higher than those of licensing. Activities offered include: homework assistance; field trips; sports and other enrichment activities. The City provides funding which supports the program’s sliding fee scale.

For registration information on all three programs, call The Campagna Center at 703-549-0111 or explore The Campagna Center web site at www.campagnacenter.org 

Family Child Care Systems

...are organizations that are licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia and are authorized to recruit, train and monitor family child care providers who become a part of the system. For information about the services provided by each system and to receive a list of participating providers, contact the system directly. The Early Childhood Division provides no oversight or regulation to the systems or providers who participate in the system.