The Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) program requires states to describe their standards for group sizes in their CCDF plans. Although each state has the ability to set their own standards for group size, the Office of the Administration for Children & Families (ACF) advises states to refer to the recommended standards in the Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards. Group size specifically refers to the number of children assigned to a designated space/classroom under a specific teacher or group of teachers in that classroom. Research has found that smaller infant and toddler group sizes are associated with positive interactions and better developmental outcomes.
The Early Head Start (EHS) standard for group size for children ages 0 to 3 years old is eight children. This indicator is a count of whether the state’s group size requirements meet or exceed EHS standards at the following ages: 11 months, 19 months, and 30 months, as reported in their CCDF plans for fiscal years 2019-2021. States received one point for meeting this benchmark at each age.
American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association. (2011). Caring for our children: National health and safety performance standards; Guidelines for early care and education programs, Third Edition. https://nrckids.org/files/CFOC3_updated_final.pdf
Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center. (n.d.). Head Start Policy and Regulations: 1302.21 Center-based Option. https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/policy/45-cfr-chap-xiii/1302-21-center-based-option
Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care. (2018). Approved CCDF Plans (FY 2019-2021). US Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/occ/resource/state-plans