The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) recognizes three ways for childcare professionals to complete the credential formerly known as the Child Development Associate Equivalency (CDAE) training. Professionals can pursue a national credential as a Child Development Associate or complete a program provided by Florida Department of Education or DCF. The child-development credential is useful for educators who want to teach in the state-funded Voluntary Prekindergarten program.

"Birth Through Five" Credential

The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) offers the Birth Through Five Florida Child Care Professional Credential to professionals who want to be certified to work in childcare facilities, including family childcare homes. The candidate must complete 120 hours of classroom instruction, 480 hours of work experience and one professional observation during the program. DCF also requires a portfolio, including an autobiography, statement of competence and resource collection.

Early Childhood Professional Credential

The Florida Department of Education offers this credential for work in preschool classrooms only. A candidate completes 120 hours of classroom instruction, including the 40 hours of DCF introductory training. The 120 hours also includes five clock hours in literacy and 10 clock hours in each of the eight content areas. Candidates also work 480 hours in the childcare setting and complete a professional portfolio like the requirements described above for DCF's credential.

Child Development Associate

Candidates with 120 clock hours of instruction and 480 hours of work experience can apply to the Council for Professional recognition for the national certification of Child Development Associate. There are four types of CDA credentials offered--preschool (age 3-5), infant/toddler (age 0-36 months), family child care and home visitor. The Council for Professional Recognition requires applicants to purchase and complete the appropriate application packet and to satisfy the assessment requirement for the CDA credential. DCF recognizes the national credential.