Leaving your child with a new child care providers can be hard, however picking the right one can be even harder. Officials say there are several things parents can look for. They say the most important thing it to get involved from the get-go and pay attention to how your child reacts to the care provider.
Amy Boney with Lily Pad Sane Center says finding the right person to watch your child isn't always easy. "You need to feel very comfortable when you walk through the door. Parents have a sixth sense that a lot of times they ignore. Ignoring that 6th sense sometimes can be detrimental later on down the road" says Boney.
Child care providers must be licensed and meet state requirements. Day care owners say they are thoroughly inspected.
Hers is a quality checklist provided by the Georgia Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies:
Is the facility licensed/registered by the state? Y/N
Is it convenient to home and/or work? Y/N
Does the schedule and hours of operation fit our needs? Y/N
How much does it cost $______ / week? Is the cost within your budget? Y/N
Is there a written parent handbook? Y/N
Group Size / Ratios
There will be at total of ____ children in the classroom/ home, including my child.
How many caregivers will work with my child's group? _____
Note: The lower the ratio of caregivers to children (i.e. 1 caregiver per 3 infants vs. 1 caregiver per 5 infants) the more individualized attention your child will receive.
Are parents invited to visit the program? Does the facility allow unannounced visits? Y/N
Do the caregivers provide the parents with daily updates on the child's day? Y/N
Are parent meetings/conferences held? Y/N
Do the caregivers seem available for discussion and questions? Y/N
Caregiver Training/Professional Development
Do the caregivers seem to be warm, friendly, calm and patient? Y/N
Do the caregivers have experience and training in working with young children? Y/N
How frequently do the caregivers change? Can you expect your child to have the same caregiver for the next year? Y/N
How many different caregivers will be with your child during the day? ______
Health & Safety
Does the facility seem safe for all the children being cared for? Y/N
Are there first aid kits and fire extinguishers available? Y/N
Do you see emergency numbers posted near an accessible telephone? Y/N
Are there any noticeable safety hazards? (i.e. electrical outlets without safety covers) Y/N
Do all of the caregiving areas appear clean? Y/N
Are nutritious meals and snacks served? Y/N
Does the playground have impact-absorbing surfaces, such as wood chips? Y/N