RICHMOND, JUNE 5 -- A conference called by Virginia Gov. Gerald L. Baliles recommended a six-point plan today for improving child day care in the state, including a new state child care office, licensing or certification of all child care services and government incentives for employers to make child care an employe benefit.

"This is our shot," said Eva S. Teig, state secretary of human resources, who formally received the recommendations. "This is the opportunity for the administration in the New Dominion to put together a far-reaching plan that will hopefully go beyond 1990."

Responding to the fact that more than half of the mothers of small children in Virginia work outside the home, Baliles said a year ago that he would make day care a top priority of his administration, and called this two-day conference as a starting point for developing an overall policy.

The six recommendations were:Create a state office of child care to collect data and help local governments establish child care services. Increase funding for a state assistance program for child care started in 1986 for low- and moderate-income families, and give new incentives to employers who help workers get services. End all exemptions from licensing requirements for child care services, such as most family day care providers, and coordinate the licensing policies of state and local agencies. Develop a plan to increase salaries, benefits and training of child care workers. Offer child care as a benefit option for state employes and establish more permanent part-time state jobs, thus setting an example for other employers. Create a government center that would provide employers with information and technical assistance in providing child care benefits.

In opening the two-day conference Thursday, Baliles focused special attention on the role of corporations, which national experts have said have been slow to include child care as part of company benefits packages.

According to information distributed by the National Commission on Working Women, only 2,000 of about 6 million U.S. businesses gave support to employe child care needs in 1984. At the same time, child care concerns are among the top priorities that workers now have, according to conference participants.

Ellen Galinsky, director of the Work and Family Life Project at Bank Street College of Education in New York, told the conference that a recent study she conducted among parents of children under 12 showed that 52 percent of absenteeism is for family-related reasons.

Galinsky also found that day care providers have the highest turnover rate of any profession and linked this to low status and pay, adding that workers' incomes are often below the poverty level.

In presenting the conference recommendations, Marian Houk, executive director of the Annandale Christian Community for Action, said there is an "emergency" in child care worker salaries.

"We have a marvelous dream of professionalism {among child care workers} and on the other hand we are paying minimum wage," she said.

Most children in the country are cared for in unregulated settings, according to local officials and national experts. The Children's Foundation, a national child advocacy group, estimates that 70 percent of the children in full-time day care go to family day care providers, generally women who care for up to five or six children in their homes.

But it is easy for such a provider to escape the notice of government officials, and the foundation estimates that fewer than 10 percent of them are regulated despite state and local governments increasing efforts to license or monitor them.

Virginia does not require licensing of providers if they care for no more than five children. Arlington County has developed its own approval and licensing requirements, and Alexandria requires registration of all providers.

In addition, Judith Rosen, director of the Fairfax County Office for Children, told the conference that her office soon will ask the County Board of Supervisors to adopt mandatory registration for family day care providers in the county.