Government Regulations on Child Care Centers

Child care centers are regulated by the government in a variety of ways in order to maintain licensing, receive subsidy reimbursements for low-income families, and participate in food programs such as the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

Federal law requires that states have policies in place to protect children in child care in three areas:

  • The prevention and control of infectious diseases
  • Building and physical premise safety
  • Health and safety training appropriate to the program setting

The rules on who must obtain a license, what training they need to have, how many children they can care for, and what kind of environment they must provide differ state by state1.

Many times child care centers must go through endless piles of paperwork and become familiar with all child care center licensing laws to be eligible for reimbursement or tiered reimbursement. A tiered reimbursement system offers higher subsidy payments to programs that demonstrate they meet higher standards of care. An example of this came to light in Mississippi, where child care centers were legally forced to require fingerprint scans for subsidy families to sign-in and sign-out of child care centers when taking their kids to and from care.

According to a statement from the Mississippi Department of Human Services, the finger-scanning system would improve the accuracy of attendance figures and cut administrative costs. However, not only will this system cost child care centers more money to operate, it is also seen as an invasion of privacy and increased inconvenience for these families. This additional cost, both in terms of dollars and time, puts an even further squeeze on the already small margins of running a child care center. A class-action lawsuit was filed in Mississippi by low-income parents arguing that being required to scan their fingers at the child care center while other parents do not have to is an invasion of privacy, and that requiring them to submit finger scans when they have done nothing wrong is an unreasonable search and seizure. 2 Louisiana is the only other state in the nation requiring finger-scans of low-income parents at day care centers.

At SmartCare, we understand the amount of work child care center owners and directors have to put into these programs and we work to make their lives easier, not more difficult. We are the only software company in the child care industry that bases its own success on the success of its clients. 

With SmartCare, we provide free software, free hardware, and more. Child care center owners and directors can cut their software expenses to zero. We also want to take the pain away from child care center directors who spend such a large part of their day chasing down families with past-due balances. After switching to SmartCare, that will become a task of the past. To learn more about features currently available, click here.

If you have any questions or want to learn more about SmartCare, please email us at