Resource Library & FAQs
View the below resources to learn more about our mission to deliver high-quality child care services:
If you have a question, contact your location's GSA Child Care Program Specialist.
For additional questions, parents can contact their child care providers directly and agencies can contact their GSA child care program manager.
Through our network of child care professionals, we provide:
- Resources for parents, including a list of child care centers and information on tuition assistance.
- Guidance for federal agencies on establishing child care centers, including start-up materials, design guidance, and ongoing program oversight for centers in GSA-controlled spaces.
- Tools to ensure quality programs including health and safety guidance and program reviews.
- Information and technical guidance to oversee development and operations throughout the life of your child care center.
- Resources for governing boards, organizing committees, child care providers, and staff.
We work with federal agencies and non-profit boards of directors to establish child care centers and select high-quality child care providers. We use local community resources and implement formal licensing agreements for using government space.
Studies show that participation in federal child care programs has positive effects on employee job satisfaction, engagement, productivity, and loyalty, and a work-site child care program can attract quality employees and encourage employee retention.
We help sponsoring agencies conduct assessment surveys to determine need, expected population, ages of children needing care, hours of operation, and types of services. We also survey the market to find child care services already available and compare tuition costs. If there is sufficient employee need, agency support, and appropriate available space, we will work with the agency to fund and plan a child care center. We then find, design and build out the space for child care centers according to the GSA Child Care Center Design Guide.
- If you're a single tenant in a building, you need commitment from your agency's top managers because they're the key to funding the development of the center and contributing to its continuing financial support. Then, you would form an organizing committee to work with our Child Care Program Manager to establish a center.
- If you're a tenant in a multi-tenant building, you may be able to partner with other federal agencies. We will need to get commitment from each agency's leadership and agreement to support a child care center for the benefit of their employees. We'll help you form the organizing committee and gather other materials to establish a child care center.
Agencies can jointly sponsor a center by developing a memorandum of understanding to establish how you'll share in developing and supporting the center, including board participation and enrollment priorities.
GSA's child care centers use the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation program, which conducts an on-site assessment of the program to evaluate quality standards. Centers follow these guidelines under the terms of their license agreement.
We consider safety and security integral to planning, designing, locating, and operating our child care centers. Our designs for space and playgrounds meet or exceed standards in GSA's Child Care Center Design Guide and applicable state and local building codes. All staff are required to meet criminal history employee background checks.
In addition to the rent they pay for space and services, federal agencies may provide phone lines, internet, office equipment, and other equipment defined in the Trible Amendment (40 U.S.C. 590). They may also provide personnel for the organizing committee and board of directors, and provide time for training and ongoing support for the center.
Agencies can also use appropriated funds (per Public Law 106-58) or designate their recycling rebates to support the tuition assistance program and help lower costs for lower-income federal employees (see additional guidance). They may give employees official time to serve on the board of directors. Agencies can help market to their employees and fundraise to support the center.
The Trible Amendment (40 U.S.C. 590) requires us to oversee and help child care centers in space under GSA's jurisdiction, custody or control, including delegated buildings. A delegated agency agrees to manage the building's daily operations according to our standards.
- In leased space, the lessor or GSA provides cleaning, utilities, and security systems.
- In delegated space, the agency provides the above services. Delegated agencies also maintain and repair the child care center space and maintain, repair, and replace child care equipment.
We furnish and equip the center and repair or replace items to the extent allowed in the Trible Amendment (40 U.S.C. 590). In a single-tenant or delegated space, the agency may have this responsibility per the GSA Pricing Desk Guide and the delegation agreement.
- In non-delegated space, we renovate the center.
- In delegated space, delegated agencies do all minor repairs and the delegation agreement determines who handles major repairs.
Boards of directors or private providers operate the centers; we don't directly manage the child care services. Under specific circumstances per the Trible Amendment (40 U.S.C. 590), an agency may directly manage a child care center.
The child care provider:
- Operates the child development program and obtains and maintains liability insurance for the center.
- Markets the program to federal employees with the board of directors.
- Hires and trains the staff.
- Sets tuition rates and collects tuition.
There are different sources of financial assistance: employer-sponsored and board programs. Each board or center should have a tuition-assistance program. Learn more in our Resources for Parents.
GSA's Child Care program provides space and services to offset providers' costs, but tuition rates must cover labor costs as well as the cost of food, cleaning products, toys, curriculum supplies, first aid, insurance, and licensing and training fees.
Tuition costs also allow for higher-quality programs, a more qualified staff, competitive salaries, smaller group sizes, and more training opportunities.
Yes, a child care center's board of directors or parent organization (if incorporated and certified as a tax-exempt organization) can conduct fundraising activities on and off federal property. Conditions apply—ask your program manager for more information.