DCHS Offers Residents Child Care Guidelines, Opportunities for Financial Assistance and Tips for Finding Childcare

Page updated on Jun 17, 2021 at 12:19 PM

DCHS Offers Residents Child Care Guidelines, Opportunities for Financial Assistance and Tips for Finding Childcare


Home Alone Web BoxJune 17, 2021--As the school year ends and summer begins, DCHS reminds parents and caregivers to review child supervision guidelines and how to access opportunities for financial assistance and tips for finding childcare.

For many parents and caretakers, there may be a need to leave children home alone for a period of time during the summer. Home Alone? Supervision Guidelines provides information about what age ranges are considered to be adequate for unsupervised time at home, babysitting guidelines, what steps your family needs to take to prepare, and a family checklist. In particular, parents and caregivers should consider whether their child:

  • Understands instructions and follow important rules

  • Knows how to ask for help from friends, neighbors and police

  • Makes good decisions when away from you or other adults

  • Knows when to contact you and 911 when needed

  • Feels comfortable and confident about staying home alone 

There are no laws in Virginia that say specifically at what age or for how long a child can be left alone. Parents are ultimately responsible for making decisions about their children’s safety. Every child is different, and must be assessed based on their maturity, skills and comfort level to be home alone.

Access the guide in English and Spanish. For questions, call 703.746.5902.

DCHS also offers tips on choosing child care, including a checklist for visiting providers in homes or centers and tips on how to observe staff, indoor and outdoor spaces as well as questions to ask about daily routines, fees, contracts and more. Access a brochure with this information in English, Arabic, Amharic and Spanish.

Alexandria residents needing assistance for childcare can access a variety of options, including the Virginia Child Care Subsidy Program, which expanded eligibility to include caregivers who are job searching and families earning 85% of the Virginia Median Income. For example, a family of four earning less than $7,412 per month may be eligible for 12 months of assistance. The temporary expansion helps parents cover the cost of child care and find or maintain employment. Applications are due by July 31. View flyers in English and Spanish and learn more about this program and other opportunities for financial assistance.

For more information about programs and services for parents, caregivers and children, visit alexandriava.gov/DCHS

This article is a slightly edited version of a DCHS news release.