The DECD/OCC Credentialing Branch is responsible for the Maryland Child Care Credential Program, Early Childhood Accreditation Project, Training Vouchers/Reimbursement, Accreditation Support Awards, Child Care Career and Professional Development Fund, and Training Approvals.
The Credentialing Branch's goals are to ensure that:
- Child care providers have access to quality training opportunities; and
- Child care providers and facilities are recognized for achieving quality improvements.
The Maryland Child Care Credential Program is a voluntary program that recognizes child care providers who go beyond the requirements of State licensing and registration regulations. There are six credential levels, each one recognizing a child care provider’s achievement of a specified number of training clock hours, experience and professional activities important for providing quality child care programs. Participating providers are required to complete training in six Core of Knowledge areas that will help them develop the knowledge and skills to provide the best possible care for the children and families they serve. The Maryland Child Care Credential Program is regulated under COMAR 13A.14.09.
Early Childhood Accreditation Project
Early childhood education programs are intended to bestow immediate and long-term benefits to young children. Research suggests that only programs that are of a high quality result in long-term benefits. An effective way for a program to reach standards of high quality is to undergo a process of State or national accreditation. The Credentialing Branch helps coordinate the accreditation application process for early care and education programs and provides support and technical assistance to programs considering the accreditation process.
Program Incentives are available to registered and licensed child care facilities based on their participation in the Maryland Child Care Credential or Tiered Reimbursement programs.
· Training Vouchers/Reimbursements are available to providers participating in the Credentialing program at Level Two or higher. Eligibility and application requirements for vouchers and reimbursements are set forth at COMAR 13A.14.09.
· The Accreditation Support Fund is available to any registered or licensed facility in Maryland to pay for the cost of program accreditation application fee for a national accreditation organization. Accreditation Support Fund requirements are set forth at COMAR 13A.14.10.