Finding Child Care

When It’s Time to Call or Click

Child CareOnce you, as a parent or family member, have identified what you are looking for from a child care provider, it is time to get on the phone or the computer and find some providers who can potentially meet your needs. Here are four invaluable resources for finding regulated child care programs in the state of Maryland.

Maryland EXCELS

Maryland EXCELS provides an online search engine to help you find high-quality Child Care Centers, School-Age Child Care Programs, Family Child Care Homes and Public Pre-Kindergarten. Maryland EXCELS uses a tiered checkmark system to give you ratings for each program based on nationally recognized quality standards and best practices.

You can find providers at the Maryland EXCELS site or by downloading their iPhone or Android app. No matter how you access EXCELS, you are able to find programs by location, quality rating, program type, and you can even find providers based on special services (for example, some programs are listed as asthma-friendly).

The Maryland Head Start Association

The Maryland Head Start Association assists Head Start programs by producing staff and parent training opportunities; by advocating on behalf of Head Start children and families across the state of Maryland; and by educating the community at large on issues of low-income families, family development, and school readiness. Head Start and Early Head Start programs support the mental, social and emotional development of children from birth to age five.

You can use the Head Start Locator to find Head Start and Early Head Start programs that would be convenient to you.

Maryland Child Care Mapping Tool

The Maryland Child Care Mapping Tool is an online GIS application developed primarily to help parents in need of child care services locate those services in relation to their homes or to local public schools. The user can set a search radius, select the type and schedule of care desired, and filter the results according to providers' quality rating levels. Search results display as "pins" on a map and can be printed out as text with or without the display map.

Maryland Family Network LOCATE: Child Care Service

The Maryland Family Network helps Maryland’s young children and their families by providing Family Support and Child Care Resource Centers and by doing advocacy work in Annapolis and Washington.

The Family Network also offers  LOCATE: Child Care Service, which enables families to find child care either via telephone or online. LOCATE can also be used to find programs specifically geared toward children with special needs and Spanish-speaking families.

If you want to use LOCATE online, you have to register, but it is a quick and easy process. Once you have registered and gotten your user name and password, you are then able to find child care based on location, the age of your child, the kind of care you want and the drop-off and pick-up times.


Things to know about finances:

  • Some child care programs have income eligibility requirements, meaning they are only meant for families whose income is below a specified amount
  • The state of Maryland provides financial assistance for child care to some families through its Child Care Subsidy program. You can learn more here.

Determine whether an early care provider and education program has been licensed or approved by the Division of Early Childhood Development (DECD) or accredited by State, regional, or national accreditation organizations here

If you believe a particular child care program is in violation of State child care licensing laws or regulations, you may file an official complaint against that program. To file a complaint, contact the appropriate Regional Licensing Office. Complaints may be filed in person, or by telephone, or in writing by e-mail, fax, or letter. Anonymous complaints are accepted, so complainants do not need to identify themselves. Each complaint is investigated by the Regional Licensing Office. Upon completion of the investigation, a report of findings is created. This report is available upon request if the investigation confirms that the violation occurred, or if it cannot be determined whether or not the violation occurred.