16Keystone Stars


Office of Child Development and Early Learning

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) is focused on creating opportunities for the Commonwealth's youngest children to develop and learn to their fullest potential. By developing an effective early childhood education system with high standards for programs and professionals, supports to meet these standards, accountability and community engagement, OCDEL is helping our children, families, teachers and communities reach their promise. Parents, schools, child care providers, Early Intervention, Head Start, libraries, community organizations, and other stakeholders have joined with the Office of Child Development and Early Learning to provide high quality early childhood programs and effective family support programs to address challenges faced by families that affect school readiness and academic success.

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning strives to build a strong foundation for children, starting at birth, through the establishment of a quality education continuum from birth to five. The success of our efforts today will translate into a brighter future for tomorrow, with citizens who are strong, independent, and well-prepared for the future.

OCDEL's programs and services span four Bureaus:

Certification  Services certifies and inspects all child care centers, group day care homes and family day care homes in Pennsylvania in accordance with Pennsylvania regulations. Certification Services provides four regional child development and early learning offices to inspect, certify and answer local questions.

Regional offices provide information to potential child care providers and the public on:
- The requirements and process for opening a child care facility
- The statutes and regulations for operating a child care facility Read the Child Care Regulations here >>

- The status and compliance history of specific facilities
- The complaints regarding child care facilities

Regional offices also provide appropriate Child Care Forms Obtain the forms here >>

Click here for a list of regional Bureau of Certification Services offices >>

Early Intervention services assures that all eligible children from birth to five with developmental delays receive services and supports that maximize their development so they are successful in any early education setting. Programs are provided to at-risk infants and toddlers or those with developmental delays, as well as to young children three and older who have disabilities and/or developmental delays. In overseeing the Early Intervention Program for infants, toddlers and children from birth to school age, the Bureau works with local administrators including county Mental Health/Mental Retardation Programs, Intermediate Units (IUs), and school districts.

Early Learning Services develops and implements standards for early learning programs and professionals to improve the quality of early learning for our young children; provides financial supports and technical assistance for programs and professionals to improve quality; and provides family support programs that strengthen families, reduce risk and increase early learning opportunities for children.

Early Learning Services includes many important programs and services such as:
Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts >>
Keystone STARS >>
State-funded Head Start >>
Children's Trust Fund >>
Nurse Family Partnership >>
Parent-Child Home Programs >>

Subsidy services provides parent counseling on early learning opportunities in their communities and manages Pennsylvania's Child Care Works program. Through a statewide network of Child Care Information Services (CCIS) agencies, Subsidy Services provides families a central location for information on local child care and early education opportunities. CCIS agencies also enroll eligible families for Child Care Works subsidy for child care.