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Making the Right Decision

Choosing Quality Child Care American Sign Language (ASL) Video

One of the most important decisions you will ever make as a parent is choosing quality child care for your child. Every child is special and unique and deserves the best start possible. Studies reveal that a high quality child care program help children better prepare for school and increase their chances of success. Research also indicates that employers benefit when their employees' children are in quality child care arrangements. Parents are more productive and focused on work knowing their children are being nurtured and interacted with in ways that promotes all areas of their development. This confidence in care creates a win-win situation for everyone: parents, children and employers.

Part of making the right decision is understanding the Star Rated License. All licensed programs, except religious sponsored programs, have a star-rating similar to the ratings you will find for other products and services. A One Star means the program meets North Carolina’s minimum child care requirements. A Five Star license means a program meets the voluntary enhanced standards required for the highest star level. The child care license is posted in every child care program for parent review. On the license you will see the scores the program has earned in the two major components of the license: Staff Education and Program Standards. You will also be able to see if the program received a Quality Point. For more information on the Star Rated License, click on the Star-Rated License tab at the top of the page.

How Can the Division of Child Development Help Me?

The North Carolina Division of Child Development makes every effort to provide information parents need to make the best possible child care choices. The Division records a variety of information on regulated facilities that you might find useful in your search, including: 

  • Star rated license information
  • Sanitation scores
  • Complaint investigations
  • Visits made by Division staff
  • Any administrative actions taken

What are some Things I Can Do to Gather Information on Facilities?

Use any of the following to obtain child care records:

  • Review North Carolina Official Child Care Records
    • Access these records through the Division's Facility Search Site
    • Visit our main office in Raleigh at 333 East Six Forks Rd  Raleigh, NC 27609
    • Request information on a facility by phone
      • 800.859.0829 (In-State only)
      • 919.814.6300
    • Email the webmaster and request specific information


  • Get Recommendations from People You Know
    • Talk to your friends, family members, co-workers, neighbors or others you know about their experiences with different child care programs


  • Visit Multiple Facilities
    • Nothing is better than seeing the program first hand
    • Be sure to take the Division's checklist with you when you go!


  • Contact Your Resource & Referral Agency who:
    • Works with parents, child care providers, businesses, and community organizations to help promote the availability of quality child care services
    • Provides parents with child care referrals and information on choosing quality child care, plus resources on various parenting issues
    • Offers providers access to valuable training and support services for new and established programs

Be sure to visit the parent resources page for links to other valuable child care sites that can assist you in choosing quality child care.

NOTICE: Global Site Search function is currently under maintenance and will not provide results. We apologize for the inconvenience. This does not impact the Child Care or Kindergarten searches.




2201 Mail Service Center | Raleigh, NC 27699-2200
919-814-6300 | 1-800-859-0829 (In State Only)
[email protected]


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