Finding affordable and safe day care has become a major challenge for working parents. Recent studies show that child care now exceeds the annual median rent in almost half of all states, straining already tight budgets to the breaking point. But money means nothing if little Johnny or Judy doesn’t come home safely at day’s end. Serious inconsistencies in licensing, enforcement and training have created dangerous situations where thousands of kids are injured each year – some fatally – while in the care of others.
Tools You Can Use to Choose Quality Care
Here are some tips and resources to help you find the best possible care for your child:
1) Start Early
No matter what type of services you’re looking for, it often takes time to get a child into any day care facility. Tools: cost calculator; stay home or return to work decision maker
2) Make a Call
Talk to referral agencies and ask about licensing requirements, complaints, violations, financial assistance programs, etc. Tools: state-by-state licensing requirements; local resource and referral lookup
3) Visit and Ask Questions
Ask about adult-to-child ratios, group size, caregiver qualifications, turnover and accreditation. Tools: Is This the Right Place for My Child checklist; staffing ratio chart; accreditation check (NAEYC, NAFCC)
4) Make an Informed Choice
Consider all the options, pros and cons associated with various child care arrangements. Tools: Child Care 101 for Parents and Guardians; Choosing a Child Care Center
5) Stay Involved
You and the caregivers are partners now. Remain an active participant in your child’s life at day care.