Licensed Provider Resources

Licensed Provider Resources

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) (a collaborative effort between the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services) is focused on creating opportunities for the commonwealth's youngest citizens to develop and learn to their fullest potential. By developing an effective early childhood education system with high standards for programs and professionals, supports to meet these standards, accountability, and community engagement, OCDEL is helping our children, families, teachers, and communities reach this goal.

Early Learning Provider Requirements

Child care and early learning providers operating a program for four or more unrelated children must be certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. The Department regulates three types of child care facilities:

  •  Child Care Center: A child care facility in which seven or more children who are not related to the operator receive child care. A child care center must have a certificate of compliance ("license") from the Department of Human Services (DHS) in order to legally operate.
  • Group Child Care Home: A child care facility in which seven through 12 children of various ages or in which seven through 15 children from 4th grade through 15 years of age who are not related to the operator receive child care. A group child care home must have a certificate of compliance ("license") from DHS in order to legally operate.
  • Family Child Care Home: A child care facility located in a home in which four, five, or six children who are not related to the caregiver receive child care. A family child care home must have a certificate of compliance ("license") from DHS in order to legally operate.

Child care regulations can be found here. If you are interested in operating a child care facility, you should contact the Department of Human Services Regional Child Development Office that regulates child care facilities in your county. Continue reading.

Apply for or Renew a Child Care Certification online with Provider Self-Service (PSS)

New and existing Child Care Providers can use Provider Self-Service (PSS) to apply for or renew child care licensing, submit online attendance invoices, update provider profiles, and much more. Pennsylvania OCDEL uses email communications targeted to child care operators for important communications. It is critical child care locations maintain an up-to-date email address for the primary point of contact at their program. Looking forward, OCDEL anticipates additional grant and award opportunities in the coming months. To ensure certified child care providers receive complete information on these opportunities, certified child care providers should visit Provider Self Service (PSS) and confirm their contact information is up to date as soon as possible. Specifically, certified child care providers are asked to visit their Licensing Location Profile(s) in PSS and check to ensure all Location Information is accurate, paying special attention to the Email Address field. For help with PSS, certified child care providers should contact the PELICAN Provider Help Desk at (877) 491-3818 (select option #2 twice), or email ra-eln@pa.gov.

Registration Fees for Department of Human Services (DHS) Certified Child Care Providers Participating in Child Care Works (CCW)

Effective January 1, 2023, Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRCs) will begin paying a registration fee to DHS certified child care providers for all CCW newly enrolled children. The registration fee will automatically be added to the provider invoice for the service period in which the enrollment was effective, regardless of whether the provider charges a registration fee. In order to comply with equal access and the CCDGB, at 42 U.S.C. section 9858c(c)(2)(G), and regulation 45 C.F.R. sections 98.45(l)(3)(ii), effective January 1, 2023, providers cannot charge CCW families registration fees or the difference between what the ELRC pays for a registration fee and what the provider charges private pay families for a registration fee. Charging CCW families a registration fee could result in termination of the provider agreement. Continue reading.

CCW Program Integrity and Accountability Training

All Directors/Owners/Operators and staff who have a role in processing Child Care Works (CCW) payments must take the professional development training titled “CCW Program Integrity and Accountability Training for Regulated Providers” (#341825) in the PD Registry by November 30, 2022. New staff involved in processing CCW payments hired after November 30, 2022, must complete the training within 90 days of hire. Continue reading.

Professional Development Training Requirement

All child care staff of DHS certified child care providers that participate with CCW are required to take a minimum of one professional development training in Child Development annually, each fiscal year (July 1-June 30), unless actively enrolled in an Early Childhood Education/Child Development (ECE/CD) degree program, including a Child Development Associate (CDA) program which will meet this requirement by completing coursework throughout that fiscal year. Child care staff not enrolled in a degree program will select approved training from the Professional Development (PD) Registry that aligns with competencies Standard Area 1: Child Development and Learning in Context (the Pennsylvania Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators will be implemented effective July 1, 2022) to meet this professional development training requirement. Continue reading.

Behavioral Help for Early Childhood Programs in PA to Prevent Suspension & Expulsion

OCDEL has released two documents to support the efforts of Pennsylvania early childhood program leaders to eliminate suspension and expulsion for young children. Within the document, Preventing Suspension & Expulsion in Pennsylvania Early Childhood Programs, An Early Childhood Program Leader’s Guide, find resources addressing program policies, procedures, and practices that promote the positive social-emotional development of young children, and create a climate of support for early childhood personnel and stronger partnerships with families. The document, Behavioral Help for Early Childhood Programs in Pennsylvania to Prevent Suspension & Expulsion, provides definitions and program descriptions, as well as information for families and more. Continue reading.

Reporting an Unplanned Closure

From the 2018 Certified Provider Agreement: The subsidy program will pay for a maximum of 15 closed days per year from the period July 1 through June 30 for which the provider also charges private-pay families. The provider must indicate those closed days before July 1 of each year at a time that the ELRC specifies. Failure to follow the procedure below will result in non-payment for the unplanned closure. Providers who use Provider Self Service (PSS) may change or add closed days throughout the year. Emergency closures can be added to the prior month up until the 5th day of the current month. Sign-up for PSS at pelican.state.pa.us/provider.

Providers who do not use PSS will follow the rules below:

Once the provider identifies the closed days, those days cannot be changed. Since the provider cannot change closed days once submitted, the provider may want to limit the number of closed days declared at the beginning of the year. This will allow a couple of days that could be added in case of an emergency or unplanned closure later in the year. If the provider lists fewer than 15 days, additional days may be added as follows:

  • The provider must notify the ELRC at least two weeks prior to adding a closed day.
  • The provider must notify the ELRC within three days of reopening the facility following an emergency or unplanned closure such as a snow day.

Reporting Delinquent Co-payments

From the 2018 Certified Provider Agreement: It is the provider’s responsibility to collect the co-payment on a weekly basis and report any unpaid co-payment to the ELRC. The co-payment is delinquent if it is not paid by the last day of the service week. The provider must report a delinquent co-payment to the ELRC on the business day following the day the co-payment becomes delinquent. When the parent/caretaker incurs a delinquent payment, and the parent/caretaker makes a payment to the provider, the provider must apply the payment toward the co-payment due for the current week of care. The provider must then apply any remainder of the payment toward the delinquent amount. The provider must notify the ELRC when the delinquent co-payment is resolved.

Accurately Reporting Absences

From the 2018 Certified Provider Agreement: The ELRC will pay the provider for five consecutive days of absence. On the sixth consecutive day of absence the provider must report the absences to the ELRC. The ELRC will notify the parent/caretaker that the enrollment for subsidized child care will be suspended until the child returns to care. The provider must accurately complete attendance invoices each month and document all absences for children who are not in care. The invoice must be submitted to the ELRC monthly either online or on a form provided by OCDEL. The invoice must include the days of attendance and absence for each child. For a newly enrolled child, payment will begin on the first day the child attends. If the child is absent on the initial day of scheduled care, payment will not start until the child attends. 

Blended Payment School Year Rate

From the 2018 Certified Provider Agreement: A blended school year rate is the average of full- and part-time rates, intended to cover full day service during school closings and holidays for school age and children attending a Pre-K program. Children in Head Start may be eligible for the blended rate if the Head Start program schedule is the same as the school district schedule. Providers accepting the blended rate cannot ask for a full-time rate for any full-time day during the school year. Providers indicate if they accept the blended rate when they complete and return the Appendix C-1 of the Provider Agreement to the ELRC. The provider must accept the blended rate for the entire school year. The ELRC will not switch to a full day rate during the school year if the provider is open for a full day because school is closed. Failure to accept the blended rate will result in payment of a part-time rate for all 205 days during the school year. The blended payment school year rate is calculated by using 25 days at the provider’s full-time CPR or Maximum Child Care Allowances (MCCA) (whichever is less) and 180 days at the provider’s part-time CPR or MCCA (whichever is less), divided by 205 days (the total number of days in a school year).

Keeping Pennsylvania's Children Safe from Abuse and Neglect

Protecting children from abuse and neglect unites lawmakers, community partners, the child protective services system, citizens, and families to provide a safe environment for children throughout the Commonwealth. In partnership with counties, schools, and community organizations, DHS is promoting evidence-based programs that give parents the skills and supports, both formal and informal, that they need to ensure that their children grow up in safe and loving homes. By working together and relying on existing supports like family members and neighbors, we can improve outcomes for families and protect our children.

  • Please call ChildLine at (800) 932-0313 if you suspect mistreatment has occurred. Reports can also be made online through the Child Welfare Portal. Please note: Mandated reporters should report online.
  • Do you have a question about child protection? Email OCYF at RA-PWCPSLQuestions@pa.gov. This email is for inquiries only, NOT for reporting child abuse.
  • KeepKidsSafe.pa.gov: Learn more about DHS' Office of Children, Youth, and Families' (OCYF) vision for all children and youth to grow up in a safe, nurturing, and permanent family and community.
  • Click here for more information and additional resources.

Helpful Links

Early Childhood Education Linkage System (ECELS)

OCDEL Announcements

PA Department of Education

PA Department of Human Services (DHS) Early Childhood Education

PA Key Professional Development (PD) Registry

PA Department of Education: Linking Standards to Curriculum and Assessment

PA Early Learning Standards: Partnerships for Learning

Caring for Our Children Basics: Health and Safety Foundations for Early Care and Education

Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards Fourth Edition (see Page 139, Section 3.5)

PA Child Care Provider Regulations: 55 PA Code Chapters 3270, 3280 and 3290

PA Subsidized Child Care Regulations: 55 PA Code Chapter 3041

Child Care Works Regulations, Policies, and Documents

CCDF Final Rule: Code of Federal Regulations