Resource & Referral
Resource & referral is a free service dedicated to helping families find answers to their questions regarding how to identify quality child care and early education programs, and how to locate a childcare provider that meets the needs of each family.
The child care checklist will help families define what to look for, and what questions to ask when researching high quality child care placement.
The family guide provides information of the many different choices of types of child care available in your community. We urge parents to make an informed decision and to carefully interview and check references before leaving their child in care. Be sure to interview several child care providers to determine which provider meets the needs and is the best fit for your family.
To obtain a copy of the Family Guide for Early Education please go to:
For a copy of the quality checklist please go to:
For a copy of a Parents guide to choosing safe and healthy childcare, please click here to open
The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) maintains files on all licensed providers which may be reviewed by the public. We strongly recommend checking child care provider files before placing your child in care. Files may show complaints, citations or administrative actions. You may contact the DCF Licensing office for your county at:
Charlotte County Providers
- Englewood and Punta Gorda area: 239-338-1476
- Providers in the Port Charlotte area: 941-751-8472
- DeSoto County 941-751-8472
- Highlands County 863-619-4100
- Hardee County 863-619-4100
You may also view provider licensing information on the web at: www.myflorida.com/childcare/providersearch. The VPK Profile can be seen here as well.
For VPK Readiness Rate information please go to https://vpk.fldoe.org/
If you are in need of health care information for your child, please contact Florida Kid Care at 1-888-540-Kids. You may also contact the Florida Directory of Early Childhood Services at 1-800-654-4440, for children with disabilities and special health care needs.
If you should need financial assistance for child care (Early Learning Scholarship Program) you may contact our local office and complete an application.
Young children need meaningful learning opportunities to develop skills, sense of self, and a foundation for learning throughout life. Good programs offer activities and services to promote each child's physical, social, and emotional development, as well as children's cognitive development.
Children who attend high quality early learning programs have competencies in:
- Social skills and have a higher motivation for learning
Social skills and have a higher motivation for learning
- Problem solving
They also gain other essential skills such as:
Having participated in quality early learning programs, children develop a love for learning and have meaningful experiences to apply as they learn more complex concepts. Families benefit too as they access needed services and receive the support they need to ensure the well-being of their children.
To help answer your questions or concerns about child care, School Readiness, Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK), or other related topics, and/or to have a packet of information mailed to you, please contact your local ELCFH office on our About Us tab.