Understanding Staff-to-Child Ratios in Preschools and Daycares: Why It’s Crucial for Parents (2023)

two little girls on the playground

This is a simple reference guide of staff-to-child ratios by state.

This reference guide will help you find staff-to-child ratios in your state.

Knowing Your Staff-to-Child Ratios

As parents, one of the most significant decisions you’ll make is choosing the right preschool or daycare for your child. This choice not only impacts your child’s daily life but also plays a pivotal role in their early development. Among the various factors to consider, the staff-to-child ratio in these settings is crucial.

I researched the staff-to-child ratios by state. I am also including links to resources so you can look up additional information from each state’s childcare website.

But why is this ratio so important?

I. Quality of Care

The staff-to-child ratio directly affects the quality of care and attention each child receives. Lower ratios mean more individualized attention, which is vital for young children’s emotional and social development. It allows caregivers to respond promptly to children’s needs, whether they’re educational, emotional, or physical.

II. Safety and Supervision

These ratios are a key indicator of the safety and supervision level in the facility. Adequate supervision ensures that children are safe, their needs are met, and emergencies are handled efficiently.

III. Effective Learning

In educational terms, a lower staff-to-child ratio often means more effective learning. Educators can tailor their approach to each child, fostering a love for learning and aiding in crucial developmental milestones.

IV. Setting Expectations

Understanding these ratios helps parents set realistic expectations about the care environment their child will be entering. It provides insight into the daily experiences of children and helps parents make informed decisions aligned with their values and expectations for their child’s early education.

Staff-to-Child Ratios by State

As we explore the staff-to-child ratios in preschools and daycares across different states, it’s important to remember that these figures are more than just numbers; they are a reflection of the quality of care, education, and nurturing your child will receive in these formative years.

Staff-to-Child Ratios:

  1. Alabama (AL):
    • Preschool: 1:18 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:12 for toddlers, 1:18 for 2.5 to 4-year-olds.
    • Home Care Staff-to-Child Ratios: Varies, but generally follows similar guidelines to daycare centers.
    • Website: Alabama Department of Human Resources – Child Care Services
    • Link: Alabama DHR Child Care
  2. Alaska (AK)
    • Preschool: 1:10 for children 30 months to 36 months, 1:12 for 3-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:5 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:8 with no more than 2 infants.
    • Website: Alaska Department of Health and Social Services – Child Care Program Office
    • Link: Alaska DHSS Child Care
  3. Arizona (AZ)
    • Preschool: 1:13 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:5 for infants, 1:8 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:4 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Website: Arizona Department of Health Services – Child Care Licensing
    • Link: Arizona DHS Child Care
  4. Arkansas (AR)
    • Preschool: 1:20 for 3 to 5-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:5 for infants, 1:8 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:5 for infants, 1:8 for toddlers.
    • Website: Arkansas Department of Human Services – Child Care and Early Childhood Education
    • Link: Arkansas DHS Child Care
  5. California (CA)
    • Preschool: 1:24 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:12 for toddlers.
    • Home Care Staff-to-Child Ratios: 1:4 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Website: California Department of Social Services – Child Care Licensing Program
    • Link: California CDSS Child Care
  6. Colorado (CO)
    • Preschool: 1:10 for 2.5 to 3-year-olds, 1:15 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:5 for infants, 1:7 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:4 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Website: Colorado Office of Early Childhood
    • Link: Colorado Early Childhood
  7. Connecticut (CT)
    • Preschool: 1:10 for 3-year-olds, 1:10 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:5 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: Regulations vary; typically follows daycare guidelines.
    • Website: Connecticut Office of Early Childhood
    • Link: Connecticut OEC
  8. Delaware (DE)
    • Preschool: 1:12 for 3 to 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Home Care Staff-to-Child Ratios: 1:4 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Website: Delaware Office of Child Care Licensing
    • Link: Delaware Child Care Licensing
  9. Florida (FL)
    • Preschool: 1:20 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:4 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Website: Florida Department of Children and Families – Child Care
    • Link: Florida DCF Child Care
  10. Georgia (GA)
    • Preschool: 1:15 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:6 for infants, 1:8 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:6 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Website: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning
    • Link: Georgia DECAL
  11. Hawaii (HI)
    • Preschool: 1:20 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:3 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Home Care Staff-to-Child Ratios: 1:6, with no more than two infants.
    • Website: Hawaii Department of Human Services – Child Care Licensing
    • Link: Hawaii DHS Child Care
  12. Idaho (ID)
    • Preschool: 1:12 for 3 to 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:6 for infants, 1:12 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: Typically follows similar guidelines to daycare centers.
    • Website: IdahoSTARS
    • Link: IdahoSTARS
  13. Illinois (IL)
    • Preschool: 1:10 for 3-year-olds, 1:20 for 4 to 5-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:5 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:8, with no more than 3 children under 24 months.
    • Website: Illinois Department of Children and Family Services – Child Care
    • Link: Illinois DCFS Child Care
  14. Indiana (IN)
    • Preschool: 1:12 for 3 to 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:5 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:6, with no more than 3 children under 24 months.
    • Website: Indiana Family and Social Services Administration – Child Care
    • Link: Indiana FSSA Child Care
  15. Iowa (IA)
    • Preschool: 1:10 for 3-year-olds, 1:12 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:5 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Website: Iowa Department of Human Services – Child Care
    • Link: Iowa DHS Child Care
  16. Kansas (KS)
    • Preschool: 1:12 for 3 to 5-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:3 for infants, 1:7 for toddlers.
    • Home Care Staff-to-Child Ratios: 1:10, with no more than 3 infants.
    • Website: Kansas Department for Children and Families – Child Care
    • Link: Kansas DCF Child Care
  17. Kentucky (KY)
    • Preschool: 1:10 for 3 to 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:5 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: Typically follows similar guidelines to daycare centers.
    • Website: Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services – Child Care
    • Link: Kentucky CHFS Child Care
  18. Louisiana (LA)
    • Preschool: 1:11 for 3-year-olds, 1:15 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:5 for infants, 1:7 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:6, with no more than 2 infants.
    • Website: Louisiana Department of Education – Child Care
    • Link: Louisiana DOE Child Care
  19. Maine (ME)
    • Preschool: 1:7 for 3-year-olds, 1:10 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Home Care Staff-to-Child Ratios: 1:8, with no more than 2 infants.
    • Website: Maine Department of Health and Human Services – Child Care
    • Link: Maine DHHS Child Care
  20. Maryland (MD)
    • Preschool: 1:10 for 3-year-olds, 1:15 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:3 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:8, with no more than 2 infants.
    • Website: Maryland State Department of Education – Division of Early Childhood
    • Link: Maryland Early Childhood
  21. Massachusetts (MA)
    • Preschool: 1:10 for 2.9 to 5-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:3 for infants, 1:4 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:6, with no more than 3 infants or toddlers.
    • Website: Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care
    • Link: Massachusetts EEC
  22. Michigan (MI)
    • Preschool: 1:12 for 3 to 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:8 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:6, with no more than 2 infants.
    • Website: Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs – Child Care Licensing
    • Link: Michigan LARA Child Care
  23. Minnesota (MN)
    • Preschool: 1:10 for 3-year-olds, 1:10 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:7 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:10, with no more than 2 infants.
    • Website: Minnesota Department of Human Services – Child Care
    • Link: Minnesota DHS Child Care
  24. Mississippi (MS)
    • Preschool: 1:20 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:5 for infants, 1:8 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: Typically follows similar guidelines to daycare centers.
    • Website: Mississippi State Department of Health – Child Care Facilities Licensure
    • Link: Mississippi Health Child Care
  25. Missouri (MO)
    • Preschool: 1:10 for 2 to 5-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:8 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:10, with no more than 4 infants.
    • Website: Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services – Child Care
    • Link: Missouri DHSS Child Care
  26. Montana (MT)
    • Preschool: 1:10 for 3 to 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:7 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: Typically follows similar guidelines to daycare centers.
    • Website: Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services – Child Care
    • Link: Montana DPHHS Child Care
  27. Nebraska (NE)
    • Preschool: 1:12 for 3 to 5-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Home Care Staff-to-Child Ratios: 1:8, with no more than 4 children under 2 years.
    • Website: Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services – Child Care Licensing
    • Link: Nebraska DHHS Child Care
  28. Nevada (NV)
    • Preschool: 1:15 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:6, with no more than 2 infants.
    • Website: Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health – Child Care Licensing
    • Link: Nevada DPBH Child Care
  29. New Hampshire (NH)
    • Preschool: 1:12 for 3 to 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:3 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:6, with no more than 3 infants.
    • Website: New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services – Child Care Licensing Unit
    • Link: New Hampshire DHHS Child Care
  30. New Jersey (NJ)
    • Preschool: 1:15 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:5, with no more than 2 infants.
    • Website: New Jersey Department of Children and Families – Child Care
    • Link: New Jersey DCF Child Care
  31. New Mexico (NM)
    • Preschool: 1:10 for 3 to 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:6 for infants, 1:8 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: Typically follows similar guidelines to daycare centers.
    • Website: New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department
    • Link: New Mexico ECECD
  32. New York (NY)
    • Preschool: 1:7 for 2-year-olds, 1:8 for 3-year-olds, 1:10 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:5 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:6, with no more than 2 infants.
    • Website: New York State Office of Children and Family Services – Child Care
    • Link: New York OCFS Child Care
  33. North Carolina (NC)
    • Preschool: 1:10 for 3-year-olds, 1:15 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:5 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:5, with no more than 2 infants.
    • Website: North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education
    • Link: North Carolina DCDEE
  34. North Dakota (ND)
    • Preschool: 1:10 for 3 to 5-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:7 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: Typically follows similar guidelines to daycare centers.
    • Website: North Dakota Department of Human Services – Early Childhood Services
    • Link: North Dakota DHS Child Care
  35. Ohio (OH)
    • Preschool: 1:12 for 3-year-olds, 1:14 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:5 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Home Care Staff-to-Child Ratios: 1:6, with no more than 3 infants.
    • Website: Ohio Department of Job and Family Services – Child Care
    • Link: Ohio DJFS Child Care
  36. Oklahoma (OK)
    • Preschool: 1:10 for 3-year-olds, 1:11 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:7, with no more than 2 infants.
    • Website: Oklahoma Department of Human Services – Child Care Services
    • Link: Oklahoma DHS Child Care
  37. Oregon (OR)
    • Preschool: 1:10 for 3 to 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:5 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:10, with no more than 2 infants.
    • Website: Oregon Early Learning Division – Child Care
    • Link: Oregon ELD Child Care
  38. Pennsylvania (PA)
    • Preschool: 1:10 for 3-year-olds, 1:10 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:5 for toddlers.
    • Home Care Staff-to-Child Ratios: 1:6, with no more than 3 infants.
    • Website: Pennsylvania Department of Human Services – Office of Child Development and Early Learning
    • Link: Pennsylvania OCDEL
  39. Rhode Island (RI)
    • Preschool: 1:9 for 3 to 5-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:5 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: Typically follows similar guidelines to daycare centers.
    • Website: Rhode Island Department of Human Services – Child Care Licensing
    • Link: Rhode Island DHS Child Care
  40. South Carolina (SC)
    • Preschool: 1:10 for 3-year-olds, 1:15 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:5 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Home Care Staff-to-Child Ratios: 1:6, with no more than 2 infants.
    • Website: South Carolina Department of Social Services – Division of Early Care and Education
    • Link: South Carolina DSS Child Care
  41. South Dakota (SD)
    • Preschool: 1:10 for 3 to 5-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:5 for infants, 1:10 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: Typically follows similar guidelines to daycare centers.
    • Website: South Dakota Department of Social Services – Child Care Services
    • Link: South Dakota DSS Child Care
  42. Tennessee (TN)
    • Preschool: 1:12 for 3-year-olds, 1:20 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Home Care Staff-to-Child Ratios: 1:7, with no more than 2 infants.
    • Website: Tennessee Department of Human Services – Child Care Services
    • Link: Tennessee DHS Child Care
  43. Texas (TX)
    • Preschool: 1:11 for 3-year-olds, 1:15 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:11 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:12, with no more than 4 infants.
    • Website: Texas Health and Human Services – Child Care Regulation
    • Link: Texas HHS Child Care
  44. Utah (UT)
    • Preschool: 1:12 for 3 to 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:7 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:8, with no more than 2 infants.
    • Website: Utah Department of Health – Child Care Licensing
    • Link: Utah Child Care Licensing
  45. Vermont (VT)
    • Preschool: 1:10 for 3-year-olds, 1:10 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:5 for toddlers.
    • Home Care Staff-to-Child Ratios: 1:6, with no more than 2 infants.
    • Website: Vermont Department for Children and Families – Child Development Division
    • Link: Vermont Child Development Division
  46. Virginia (VA)
    • Preschool: 1:10 for 3-year-olds, 1:10 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:5 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:5, with no more than 2 infants.
    • Website: Virginia Department of Social Services – Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Development
    • Link: Virginia DSS Child Care
  47. Washington (WA)
    • Preschool: 1:10 for 3-year-olds, 1:12 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:7 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:8, with no more than 2 infants.
    • Website: Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families – Child Care
    • Link: Washington DCYF Child Care
  48. West Virginia (WV)
    • Preschool: 1:10 for 3 to 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: Typically follows similar guidelines to daycare centers.
    • Website: West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources – Early Care and Education
    • Link: West Virginia DHHR Child Care
  49. Wisconsin (WI)
    • Preschool: 1:8 for 3-year-olds, 1:10 for 4-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: 1:8, with no more than 3 infants.
    • Website: Wisconsin Department of Children and Families – Child Care
    • Link: Wisconsin DCF Child Care
  50. Wyoming (WY)
    • Preschool: 1:10 for 3 to 5-year-olds.
    • Daycare: 1:4 for infants, 1:10 for toddlers.
    • Home Care: Typically follows similar guidelines to daycare centers.
    • Website: Wyoming Department of Family Services – Child Care Licensing
    • Link: Wyoming DFS Child Care

Conclusion: Knowing Staff-to-Child Ratios

One of the reasons you need to know your state’s staff-to-child ratios is because it will help you determine if your child is in the care of a place that cares about laws and regulations. Laws and regulations around childcare are in place for the safety of all children and it is very important for care providers to maintain proper staff-to-child ratios.

Now that you’re armed with this information, check out my post of preparing your packing list for the first day of daycare, and the list of daycare interview questions for parents.

If you’re in need of coaching, please check out my new coaching page! I coach & mentor teachers and parents, and I’d love to help you!
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thewearyeducator.com

I am an educator with almost 15 years of experience teaching in Japan, Hawaii, and in Los Angeles. My goal is to change education and the way we view literacy instruction in America.

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