Child Care Referral Central (CCRC) is a regional collaborative between CCSA and the Alamance, Caswell, Person and Franklin-Granville-Vance Partnerships for Children. We offer a wide range of services to help families find, evaluate and pay for quality child care services.

How can we help?

Find Child Care

Child Care Referral Central offers three, free and convenient ways to obtain referrals to child care programs in your area.

Evaluate Child Care

When families need to use child care, it is important that their children are enrolled in the highest quality care possible.

Pay for Child Care

Quality child care can be very expensive. We provide information on a number of resources for families to get help paying for child care.

COVID-19 & N.C. Child Care

The State of North Carolina is urging all families who can keep their children at home, with a responsible adult, to do so. Families needing referrals to open/operating child care programs for children ages birth to twelve should call the statewide toll–free number for assistance:


(Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Effective April 1, 2020, open-licensed child care programs have agreed to meet additional health and safety requirements as outlined in the Child Care StrongNC Toolkit.

Learn more about how CCR&Rs help families


  • What is CCRC?

    CCSA helps families with child care needs through a service called Child Care Referral Central (CCRC). Child Care Referral Specialists help take the guesswork out of choosing care by providing referrals to local programs, information on the NC Star Rated licensing system and information on where to get help paying for child care. We also offer Choosing Child Care Seminars in the community and provide consumer education through our Family Focus eNewsletter and Fridays for Families video series on Facebook.

    Child Care Referral Central is a regional collaborative between CCSA and the Alamance, Caswell, Person, and Franklin-Granville-Vance Partnerships for Children. Child Care Referral Central makes finding child care in the nine-county area of Alamance, Caswell, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Orange, Person, Vance, and Wake counties easy and central for families.

    Watch this video to learn more about how child care resource & referral agencies help families.

  • What should I expect after I talk with the referral specialist?

    A CCRC Referral Specialist will give you the tools to be confident through the child care search process. They will help you take the process one step at a time and share with you the information you’ll need to make the right child care choice. 

    Information will include:

    • Types of child care options. You will receive a detailed printout, listing programs that are matched by criteria like quality ratings, type of care, location, tuition rates, vacancies, ability to meet a special need and more.
    • North Carolina child care regulations
    • Quality care indicators (checklists to take with you when you visit child care facilities & tips for checking references)
    • Cost of care & financial assistance
    • Developmentally appropriate classroom practices & positive teacher-child interactions
    • Details of visits by the state licensing agency
  • Are child care programs doing anything different in response to COVID-19?

    The DCDEE and DHHS has provided child care programs and family child care homes with a toolkit to help them make informed decisions about COVID-19 and minimize the risk of exposure to both the staff and children in their care. In order for child care programs to remain open, they must attest to meeting the interim guidance for child care settings found in this ChildCareStrongNC Public Health Toolkit.

  • Why is quality important in early learning settings like child care or preschool?

    The first eight years of life are some of the most important formative years. Brain Science research confirms that early experiences have a direct impact on how children develop learning skills and social-emotional abilities that stay with them throughout life. 

    Participating in a high-quality child care program can help your child

    • build their Confidence. They get to practice new skills in a safe and nurturing environment.
    • build Relationships and develop secure attachments. These relationships help children to better understand themselves in relation to others, as well as practice social skills like conflict resolution, taking turns and how to share. They have the opportunity to interact with children of a wide range of ages and personalities.
    • feel that their contributions to the community are valued and encouraged. Early care and education settings often provide children the first opportunity outside of the home to have a voice and contribute their ideas.
    • learn life skills such as problem-solving. Teachers can help children develop their inner strengths and critical thinking skills, which helps to express feelings, resolve conflicts, and take responsibility for their actions.
    • develop language and communication skills. In quality child care programs, children are more likely to be exposed to large amounts of language and vocabulary through reading, singing and talking.
    • increase emotional regulation. Consistent and nurturing interactions with a teacher can help children manage and experience emotions, feelings and behaviors, which are foundational to success in learning.
    • develop empathy to understand how others feel in a particular situation and respond with care. Pretend play, reading stories about feelings, caring for animals or plants, having role models and compassionate teachers are all ways that children learn about empathy in child care settings.
    • be Resilient. Quality programs provide stable, supportive environments and meaningful ways to stay connected that are keys to children being able to bounce back from a setback or pick themselves up from failure. Children have the opportunity to get out of their comfort zone and be vulnerable while feeling safe to try new things.

    Watch this video clip to hear more about the importance of quality in child care.

  • What does a quality child care program setting look like?

    North Carolina has licensing standards that serve as a baseline for health and safety as well as provide guidance regarding more comprehensive needs of young children. One of the keys to a high-quality program is what happens inside the classroom. Teachers engage and tailor learning opportunities for children based on their needs through responsive language, classroom activities and language-rich environments. Positive guidance is used to foster independence, prevent & redirect challenging behaviors. 

    During your observations at child care settings you should see teachers who are responsive to the needs of each child, supportive and engaging experiences for children, positive interactions between providers and children, learning opportunities that are developmentally appropriate, interactive and plentiful, and health, safety and welfare of children are priorities.

    Watch this video clip to learn more about what you should see in quality preschools.

See All FAQs for Families »


  • The counselor provided a lot of information about what to look for in a center. As a result, I entered my child into a great school and I have peace of mind because I know my child is well taken care of while I am at work.


  • It was very helpful in informing us about how to understand the North Carolina child care rating system. [The Specialists] suggestions about what to look for in a child care provider were also very helpful.  And the list of available providers in our area and price range was a big help as we looked for a provider for our child.

    Preschool Parent

  • I wasn’t really prepared for actually searching for child care. I’m a solo parent, so it was a big adjustment to do that, and as soon as he came into the home, we had a clock ticking. We had eight weeks at home with him and then he needed to find somewhere to go during the day. By going to Child Care Services Association, it really did allow me to have one place where I could ask all my questions.

    New Parent

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Have child care questions? We can help!


Our staff members are part of the team of NC Child Care Resource and Referral Specialists who are operating the statewide child care referral hotline. If you are a family needing referral support from the hotline, please call us (toll-free). If you need other information or support or are a prior referral client needing additional/follow-up services, please call us at the number above or email us (referral@childcareservices.org), and we will respond as soon as possible.