By Chaznique Cooks, Legally Exempt Enrollment Specialist
While there are many benefits to becoming a legally exempt provider beyond providing safe, high-quality child care, the main benefit is just that: quality.
What is Legally Exempt Child Care?
Legally Exempt child care is a different option of child care. It is a great option for families with unique schedules, or have access to legally exempt providers. This program allows parents to hire close, dependable, reliable friends, family members, or neighbors as their child’s care provider. These individuals are called Legally Exempt providers. These types of providers are able to receive subsidy payments, or daycare assistance if the family qualifies, from the county they perform their services in.
While Legally Exempt child care is legal and recognized by both Erie County and New York State, Legally Exempt child care is unregulated child care. This means that neither Child Care Resource Network or Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) regulates or licenses these programs.
Why Should I Become a Legally Exempt Child Care Provider?
By providing child care out of your home, you are able to focus on a smaller, more close-knit group of children which gives the opportunity to bond with and nurture those who need it most. Legally exempt providers are only able to care for two (2) non-related children at one time.
Is Legally Exempt Care Easier or Better than Center-Based Care?
Legally Exempt child care isn’t better or worse than center-based care. Many providers will say it isn’t easier or harder care to provider, either - just different. Some children thrive in center-based programs, while others need smaller group sizes with one-on-one interactions with adults they’re familiar with. In many large programs or daycare centers, one-on-one care is often difficult to provide. Additionally, many children suffer from separation anxiety so providing care to a child in a familiar home-like setting can help ease that tough transition. Furthermore, most times the provider is actually either a close friend or relative which gives that added sense of comfort to both the child and parents.
As a legally exempt child care provider, you are making the choice to help families receive affordable and quality child care that is out of reach for so many families. By becoming a legally exempt child care provider, you are giving families the gift of knowing that through your heart and Child Care Resource Network’s monitoring, technical support, and willingness to ensure that everyone is in compliance with regulations and guidelines, their child is receiving safe and high-quality child care.