Choosing Child Care Homes and Centers: Your Choice - Your Responsibility
- Call for information - ask about:
- Hours, days, fees
- How many children and their ages
- Staff experience, training, turnover
- Transportation to school and activities
- Meals and snacks
- Whether unannounced visits are allowed
- Are the children busy, happy, and interacting with adults?
- Is the play area, bathroom and kitchen clean?
- Are the toys clean, in good condition, and age appropriate?
- How are problems handled (crying, fighting, shyness)
- Look at the posted child care license and latest Report of Inspection
- Are parents encouraged to visit and ask questions?
- What is the child/staff ratio?
- How are emergencies handled?
- What is the discipline policy?
- Review the current meals and snacks
- Review the daily routine: activities – outdoor/indoor, quiet/active, group/alone, planned/free times
- What are the sick and vacation policies?
- What about medications?
- What about naps?
- Is a written agreement for parent/care giver responsibilities?
- What is the first aid knowledge?
- What about television viewing?
- Are their any extra charges, and for what?
- Would my child fit into this group?
- Would my child's emotional, social and learning needs be recognized and developed here?
- Am I satisfied that my child will be safe and comfortable in this setting?
Your responsibility continues:
- After your child is enrolled:
- Visit at least every 3 months (unannounced)
- Talk to your child every day regarding how things are
- Watch for any changes in personality
- Talk with other parents
- Give no "blanket" permission for outings
- Authorization: prohibit release of you child to those unauthorized
- Talk with the director or care giver
- Talk with other parents
- Listen to your child. If (s)he is constantly unhappy or withdrawn, something is wrong.
- Bedwetting, nightmares, signs of violence, and expressing affection in unusual ways may also be danger signals.
- Be cautious is the care givers sound angry or cross, or if they seem overwhelmed with their responsibilities.
A good facility can be wrong for a particular child. Your observations and your sense of instinct about how your child fits in are your best guides. Trust your feelings!
Checklist materials compiled by: Colorado Commission on Children and Their Families, Mile High United Way, Colorado Department of Human Services, El Paso County Department of Human Services
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