Overview: Child Care In Hawaii Part 1

Part 1: Overview

Types Of Providers

In Hawaii, there are 3 types of child care providers that are defined and regulated by state laws:

  • A license-exempt provider (like a relative, friend, or babysitter) can care for up to 2 children who are not related to them.
  • A licensed family child care home has a caretaker that must be trained in first aid and CPR. No more than 2 children under 18 months old are allowed, and no more than 6 children of any age are allowed in total.
  • A licensed child care center has staff that must be trained in first aid, CPR, child development, and early education. The required ratio of caretakers to children depends on the ages of the children at the center:
      • At an infant/toddler center: At least 1 adult for every 3 children (ages 6 weeks-3 years).
      • In a preschooler center: 1:8 for 2-year-olds, 1: 12 for 3-years-olds, and 1:16 for 4- and 5-year-olds.

Moreover, there are accredited care providers, which are licensed child care centers that meet standards higher than the minimum state requirements. Currently, there are 70 child care programs in the state of Hawaii that are accredited by the National Association For The Education Of Young Children (NAEYC).

For more info, visit the National Resource Center For Health And Safety In Child Care And Early Education’s webpage on Hawaii’s health and safety regulations regarding child care.

Average Monthly Costs

As of June 2011, the average monthly cost for full-time child care in Hawaii is $628 (source: Hawaii State Department of Human Services). However, rates can vary greatly depending on the island, the age of the child, and the type of facility. For example, the average monthly cost for full-time care of a child age 2-3 years at a child care center on Oahu is $755, but on Kauai it’s only $508. Interestingly, care for that same child on Oahu would cost less in a family child care home ($623), but on Kauai it would cost more ($590).

Here is the complete chart of average monthly full-time rates broken down by facility type, age, and island.

Financial Aid

There are several programs available to help Hawaii’s lower-income families pay for child care:

  • Child Care Connection Hawaii (CCCH) – Subsidized child care through Hawaii’s Department of Human Services. To qualify, your gross monthly income cannot be more than:
    • Family of 2: $3179
    • Family of 3: $3927
    • Family of 4: $4675
    • Family of 5: $5423
    • Complete chart of income limits and co-pay sliding scale
  • Preschool Open Doors (POD) – Subsidized preschool for 4-year-olds (and 3-year-olds with special needs) through Hawaii’s Department of Human Services. The same income limits as CCCH (see above) apply. Open enrollment is during a limited time in the spring. For more info, call:
    • Oahu: 808-587-5254
    • Neighbor islands: 1-800-746-5620
  • Early Head Start & Head Start – Federally funded preschool for children ages 0-3 years (Early Head Start) and 3-5 years (Head Start):
    • Oahu: Parents And Children Together (PACT), Honolulu Community Action Program (HCAP) (Head Start only)
    • Big Island: Family Support Services West Hawaii (FSSWH) (Early Head Start and infant/toddler center), Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council (HCEOC) (Head Start only)
    • Kauai: Child & Family Service (Head Start only)
    • Maui, Molokai & Lanai: Maui Family Support Services (MFSS) (Early Head Start only), Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc. (MEO) (Head Start and infant/toddler center)

Choosing A Provider

Hawaii has a free referral service for finding a licensed child care provider: People Attentive To Children (PATCH). You can call them to discuss your needs, or get a referral online. PATCH is a member of the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies.

For more info on the process of choosing a child care provider, download How To Select A Child Care Provider, a booklet for parents jointly published by the University of Hawaii and the state of Hawaii.

Part 2: Statewide Programs
Part 3: Nannies, Au Pairs & Babysitters
Part 4:
School-Age Programs