Finding Child Care

When It’s Time to Call or Click

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

What to Ask When You Call or Click

You will likely already have some specific questions on your mind, but you can also go here to see the list of questions we have compiled for families to ask when interviewing child care providers.

Other Ways to Find Providers

Some families find their child care through resources like newspapers, bulletin boardnotices, friends and neighbors. While these resources can lead to successful results, if you use them, first determine whether the child care provider has been approved by the MSDE Office of Child Care. This is the only way to ensure that your child will be receiving regulated child care link.