Monitoring and Enforcement Policies and Practices

Lead Agencies must certify that procedures are in effect to ensure that child care providers caring for children receiving CCDF services comply with all applicable state and local health and safety requirements. These may include, but are not limited to, any systems used to ensure that providers complete health and safety trainings, any documentation required to be maintained by child care providers, or any other monitoring procedures to ensure compliance.

Inspection of child care programs by licensing agencies and other regulators helps ensure that child care programs are following states’ rules for protecting children’s health and safety. Having qualified and trained licensing staff can help ensure that monitoring is carried out in a professional and consistent way.

The law requires that states conduct monitoring visits for all providers serving CCDF children, including all license-exempt providers (except those serving only relatives). However, it has different monitoring requirements for CCDF providers who are licensed and CCDF providers who are license-exempt.

  • For licensed CCDF providers, states must conduct
    • at least one prelicensure inspection for health, safety, and fire standards and
    • at least one annual, unannounced inspection for all child care licensing standards, including but not limited to the required 11 health and safety topics and fire standards.
    • Inspectors may inspect for compliance with all three standards—healthy, safety and fire—at the same time.
  • For license-exempt CCDF providers (except those serving relatives), states 
    • annual inspections for compliance with health, safety, and fire standards.
    • The law does not require that these monitoring visits be unannounced, but the Administration for Children and Families recommends that states consider unannounced visits for license-exempt providers since experience shows that they are effective in promoting compliance.
  • For care provided in the child’s own home, states
    • have the option to develop alternate monitoring requirements, though this flexibility cannot be used to bypass the requirement altogether.

As a reminder, states have the option to exempt relatives defined in CCDF regulations as grandparents, great-grandparents, siblings if living in a separate residence, aunts, and uncles from inspection requirements. Note: This exception only applies if the individual cares only for relative children.

In addition to the requirements to conduct monitoring visits, states are now required to have policies in place to ensure the following:


✔️ That licensing inspectors are qualified and have received training in related health and safety requirements

✔️ That the ratio of inspectors to providers is sufficient to ensure that visits occur in a timely manner. In determining an appropriate ratio, a great resource for information is the National Association for Regulatory Administration (NARA).


[1] CCDBG Act of 2014 658E(c)(2)(F), (J), (K); Child Care and Development Fund, 45 C.F.R. § 98.42 (2016).