What is the difference between a child care center and family child care? Which is better for young children?

A child care center cares for larger groups of children in a facility outside a private home. Child care centers may be large or small but usually divide children into groups by age, with different child care and early education professionals to work with each group. Individual states regulate child care centers.
Family child care is usually provided in a person’s private home by one or two individuals. Most states have limits on the number of children who can be in family child care. Family child care providers are required to register and meet specific rules in most states. Family child care homes are more likely to have mixed-age groups of children.
Neither child care setting is better than the other. It is important for a parent to explore each type of child care and take into consideration the child’s needs. For example, will your child feel comfortable in a larger classroom with more children and teachers? Or would he or she feel more secure with fewer children and less space? The quality of children’s child care experiences is related, at least in part, to the child care provider’s educational preparation for the job. The best child care providers have education and training about children. Education is important because it teaches child care providers how to help children learn and grow. Providers learn how to plan the day, serve nutritious foods, interact with children effectively, and offer fun activities that children will like. They also learn how to relate with families in positive ways. All of these skills can help them provide more sensitive, nurturing care for children.