Tips on Finding Good Child Care that Works Best for Your Family
Finding the right child care provider takes work. And it takes asking lots of questions, from the practical ones about hours and meals to the personal ones about discipline and toilet training. As you talk to providers, the most important question you must ask of yourself is, "Will my child receive loving and careful attention?"
Your local child care resource and referral agency can help you ask questions that will guide you to good, affordable care in a variety of settings, depending on your needs. Located in every county in California, R&R agencies are in constant contact with parents and providers. Call for information about choosing child care or for names of specific providers or centers. A child care specialist will consult with you and provide free referrals that meet your needs. Some families qualify to receive government funds to help pay for child care.
To locate your local R&R please call (800) 543-7793.
Before calling your local R&R for help finding child care, consider your needs in terms of fees, hours, and location as well as your child's temperament, personality, social, and academic needs. This will assist the child care specialist in helping you find the child care that best meets your family's needs.
There are many different types of child care, from child care centers and family child care to in-home care. Some care is licensed by the State of California, some is not. Licensing does not assure quality, but it does provide guidelines for health and safety. If you take the time to look carefully, you can find quality care for your child in any of these settings.
When considering a provider:
1. Interview and observe the potential provider with your child.
• Explore why this caregiver wants to care for your child.
2. Ask the potential provider:
• What do they like to do with children?
3. Ask a lot of "what if" questions, for example:
• What if my child cries all day?
4. Check references and work history.
5. Trust your instincts! Hire someone you like. Hire someone your children like.
6. Once you have found a good provider, be sure to:
• Communicate regularly and openly about how the child care arrangement is working for you, your child, and your provider.
Remember, good child care is a partnerahips
Family Child Care Homes
Care offered in the home of the provider, who is often a parent. The number of children a family child care provider can care for at one time depends on the ages of the children and whether or not there is an assistant or a second provider. Often care is provided for a mixed age group of children. Family Child Care Homes are licensed by the State.
Child Care Centers
A facility that can provide care for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children all or part of the day. Although generally larger than family child care homes, centers may be large or small and can be operated independently or by a church or other organization. Sometimes child care centers are called nursery schools or preschool programs. Child Care Centers are licensed by the State.
A friend, relative, babysitter, or nanny cares for your child in your home, full time or part time. This kind of care is not licensed, but you can use TrustLine (a registry of providers who have submitted their fingerprints to the Department of Justice and have no disqualifying child abuse or criminal convictions in California) to find out important background information about the caregiver.
Home Care Providers
Home care providers may care for children from only one other family besides their own. Children go to the provider's home for care. There is no licensing for these providers. TrustLine is available if you choose a home care provider.
A registry created by the California Legislature to give parents an important tool to use when selecting an in-home or home care provider for their children. All child care providers listed with TrustLine have submitted their fingerprints to the California Department of Justice and have no disqualifying criminal convictions in California, In addition, some, but not all, child care providers listed with Trustline have also received a clearance from a FBI criminal record check.
For more information about TrustLine, visit their website or call (800) 822-8490 (within California) or 415-882-0234 (outside California).