Fairfax is the seat of Fairfax County, and is located 17 miles West of Washington, DC. It is well known for outstanding cultural amenities, strong support for educational opportunities, and was recognized by Forbes as one of "The Top 25 Places to Live Well" in the United States. There are 189 regulated child care facilities in Fairfax (including State licensed daycare centers, licensed home daycares, and child care homes with a Fairfax County permit). The average cost of center-based child care in Fairfax $325 per week for infants and $230 per week for 4-year old preschoolers. Tuition rates are lower in home-based daycares and preschools with full-time weekly tuition of $250 per week on average for infants and $225 per week for 4-year-olds. To find out the average cost of daycare in your zip code, click here to use our daycare cost calculator
The city of Fairfax offers a great combination of a charming small-town feel, with all the amenities of a bigger city: various parks and recreation programs, world-class business opportunities, and one of the countries' best public-school systems. The town embraces its rich history and cultural diversity with several annual festivals and community events. Such events include Spotlight of the Arts, the Chocolate Lovers Festival and the Fall Festival which invite thousands of visitors and hundreds of craft merchants.
Regulated early care and education programs are either licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia or permitted by Fairfax County. Child care providers are required by law to register unless exempted explicitly for religious reasons or if they only provide occasional babysitting to friends and family members. Home daycares typically offer more flexible hours of operation and are generally less costly than child care centers. There are many more family child care programs in Fairfax than center-based daycares or preschools. There are 97 facilities with a Fairfax County Permit to provide care for up to 4 children in the caregiver's home and 53 state-licensed Family Day Homes which care for 5 to 12 children. There is thus a total of 150 home daycares in Fairfax. In comparison, there are only 39 child care centers. Those are facilities ran in a place other than the owner's residence and licensed to a specified maximum number of children based on the size of the facility.
The quality of early learning programs is crucial in the development of young children in preparation for academic success and towards reaching their fullest potential. The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) issues state licenses and guarantees the monitoring of child care facilities according to legal requirements and stringent standards. Those are meant to ensure that children are exposed to developmentally appropriate activities, and a healthy, safe, and secure environment. To get a child care license, facilities must be safe, with ample space for children and must undergo a fire inspection from authorized agencies. All staff and adults over 14 years old with regular access to the child care facility undergo a comprehensive state and federal background checks. Caregivers also complete first aid and CPR training and must get signed physical and health certificates by a certified health practitioner.
Parents have different needs and preferences when choosing a child care facility. In Fairfax, families living in poverty represent almost 8% of the population. Fourteen child care facilities participate in a government subsidy program and accept child care vouchers to pay for tuition fees. More than 20 child care facilities in Fairfax offer before and after school care to serve families with school-aged children. Five daycares provide a Summer Camp program where children engage in fun activities and enrichment programs during the summer holidays. For families looking for an all-inclusive program, 19 daycares can accommodate children with special needs. Those facilities usually have staff with specialized training in universal precaution procedures, disabilities precaution, intervention strategies, and medication administration. Parents may also be interested in one of the 10 faith-based daycares or the 4 bilingual programs. Children with food allergies will be best cared for in one of the 25 peanut-free daycares in Fairfax.