woman and boy playing with trains in home

Family, friend, and neighbor care is provided in the child’s or caregiver’s home by a person who is a relative, friend, or neighbor, or a babysitter or nanny. These providers are typically exempt from licensing and regulations. They may not be required to meet health, safety, and training standards unless they care for children who receive government financial assistance.

The question of whether family, friend, and neighbor care is required to be licensed depends on your state’s rules. It may also depend on the number of children in care and whether the children are related to the provider.

You can find more information about your state’s child care licensing requirements by using the search feature of this website. Just click this link, See Your State's Resources, select the state you live in under the “Get Child Care Resources”. You will be directed to state specific child care information including information about “Child Care Regulations” and your state’s “Child Care Licensing”.

Tips for Choosing This Type of Care

Young Hispanic Mother Sitting on Couch with Daughter on Lap

  • Although your family, friend, and neighbor care provider is probably someone you are close to and feel comfortable with, you should make sure your caregiver takes first aid and CPR training.

  • Your caregiver will be a very important person in your child’s life. It is important to discuss your desires and beliefs about daily routines, nutrition, discipline, safe sleep, and screen time with your provider to ensure that you agree on how your child will be cared for when you are not there.

  • Discuss how, together, you and your child’s caregiver can support your child’s learning. Work together to plan and provide learning activities.

  • Be sure to think about things like payment, holidays, and safety of the home environment as you’re making your decision.

Why Families Choose This Type of Care

Families who choose this type of care report that they know and trust the caregiver. Families may like the flexibility in scheduling and transportation. Family, friend, and neighbor care is also often the least expensive type of care available.


This text has been adapted from content originally created by Child Care Aware of America Grant #90LH002 for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Child Care (OCC).