Early Learning Coalition & Florida Department of Children & Families

Florida Department of Children & Families (DCF)

DCF are The Office of Child Care Regulation and Background Screening and are statutorily responsible for the administration of child care licensing and training throughout Florida. Their program ensures that children are well cared for in a safe, healthy, positive and educational environment by trained, qualified and screened child care staff. Their program currently regulates or provides oversight for licensed child care facilities. In addition, the Office administers background screening clearances, disqualifications and exemptions for all 67 counties across multiple programs units.

The child care licensing program is a component of the services provided by Department of Children and Families. The program is accountable for the statewide licensure of Florida's child care facilities and specialized child care facilities for the care of mildly ill children. The purpose of the program is to ensure a healthy and safe environment for the children in child care settings and to improve the quality of their care through regulation and consultation. The department ensures that licensing requirements are met through on-going inspections of child care facilities.

Toad Hall Children's Center is fully licensed through the DCF and we follow the Florida Admistrative Code of Child Care Standards along with the Florida Statutes. The DCF make regular unannounced inspections to the center and we have been found to be fully compliant in all areas. Results of inspections are displayed on 'Our Inspections' notice board at the center. 

For more information please see the DCF website on child care: 


Early Learning Coalition of Manatee County

History and Purpose
The Early Learning Coalition of Manatee County is one of 31 Coalitions located throughout the
state of Florida. These Coalitions were originally created in May of 1999 as a component of
Florida Statute 411- the School Readiness Act.

Meeting the First Education Goal: School Readiness

The intent of the School Readiness Act was to create a locally designed, operated, and
managed system of fully integrated and coordinated school readiness programs with a state-
level partnership providing overall leadership for coordinating programmatic, administrative,
and fiscal policies and standards. Local coalitions are responsible for examining local
programs and delivery systems, establishing concrete steps to improve service integration,
efficiency, and quality, and developing an evaluation plan to measure progress in meeting the
goals it establishes. In order to accomplish these requirements, coalitions must understand the
strengths and needs in their communities and develop multiple community partnerships and
action steps for service continuation, service improvements, and to address gaps in service.
Service delivery, as defined by the Act, includes early education and care, screening and
assessment, and parenting supports. Local coalitions are required to develop strategies to
bring school readiness partners together, develop concrete steps to integrate services,
identify mechanisms to increase efficiencies, and implement quality improvement activities.

School Readiness Goals

The School Readiness Act requires a community plan to address the
needs of all eligible children. In order for children to be ready for school, the following goals
(as identified in F.S. 411.01) must be addressed in the community plan:

Goal 1: School readiness programs shall prepare children for success in school.
Goal 2: School readiness programs shall involve parents as their child's first teacher and
support family skill building.
Goal 3: School readiness programs shall be an integrated and seamless system of services and shall be implemented through local coalitions.
Goal 4: School readiness programs shall be coordinated and public funding integrated to
achieve effectiveness and efficiency.
Upon enactment of HB1A in January 2005, the Coalition also became responsible for the implementation and administration of the Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Program, which serves 4 year old children. The Coalition administers the VPK Program for children who are receiving that service only, as well as integrating VPK into the School Readiness component, when applicable.

The ELC also inspect our center however their inspections cover the environment, the early education we are providing through the Creative Curriculum and Kindness Curriculum and the care we offer. These inspections are carried out by using the The Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale. These are otherwise know as ITER'S and ECER'S.

(ITERS) The Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale-Revised: A thorough revision of the ITERS, designed to assess group programs for children from birth to 2 ½ years of age. Total scale consists of 39 items..

(ECERS) The Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised: A thorough revision of the ECERS, designed to assess group programs for preschool-kindergarten aged children, from 2 through 5 years of age. Total scale consists of 43 items.

Toad Hall have achieved an overall score of over '5' which evaluates our centre as being 'Good'. Some individual scores have achieved the grade of' 7' which is the highest score and grades these areas of provision as 'Excellent'. Our recent reports can be found on display on 'Our Inspections' notice board. 

Coming soon are the CLASS inspections which stands for Classroom Assessment Scoring System. These inspections focus on:

  • The interactions teachers have with children impact learning, development—even lifelong

    achievement. CLASS is the observation tool developed to assess these interactions: from infant care through 12th grade.

In addition, we are registered with the ELC to deliver both the School Readiness Program and the VPK Program.

School Readiness child care funding is available to eligible families to assist them in obtaining affordable, high quality child care. Children are eligible from birth through 12 years of age so long as your family meets the eligibility criteria outlined by the ELC.

Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) is a free program aimed to prepare four-year-old children for kindergarten and build the foundation for their educational success. VPK is available to all four-year-olds born on or before September 1 who reside in Florida, regardless of family income.

For more information please contact us or see the ELC website: http://www.elc-manatee.org



A Family Guide for Selecting Quality Early Learning Programs

  • Florida Developmental Standards


As a parent you know how important the first years of life are in a child's development.


To help you know what children should understand and be able to do as they move from birth to 5, Florida adopted the Florida Early Learning and Developmental Standards.


Read, search or download a printable version of the standards here and use them to plan experiences and activities.