Choosing Child Care

Child care is often a child’s first time away from home. To help make it a good experience, look for child care that supports your child’s social, emotional and mental growth.

Finding the right child care program and provider takes time. Look for a warm, welcoming place, trained caregivers and small groups of children with each caregiver. And look for a daily schedule with lots of activities that are right for the age of your child.

Being apart can be difficult and frightening for both you and your child. It helps if you spend some time with him the first day or two. Bring along his favorite blanket or toy. Ask your child care provider for other ideas.

Finding Child Care Finding Child Care

To help families choose child care, each county has a Child Care Resource and Referral Agency. This agency can tell you about
licensing, child care homes and centers, free or low-cost child
care and other services for parents. Call Child Care Connection. Visit

Choosing Child Care
In this center, each small group of children has a caring provider and a comfortable space.

When Choosing Child Care, Ask:

  • Do the children seem happy and well cared for?
  • Are the providers welcoming and willing to take time to talk to you?
  • Do they respond quickly to the children? Do they seem caring?
  • Is the place clean, safe and comfortable for the children and the caregivers?
  • Are there books, toys and games that fit the ages of the children?
  • Are there small groups of children with each caregiver?
  • Do the caregivers kneel or sit at the children’s level?
  • Do caregivers guide and discipline the children gently and appropriately?
  • Does the program keep children and caregivers together over time?
  • Do the caregivers plan each day’s activities?

Things You Can Do

Where to Find Help

Learn More

Choosing Child Care
Emily, who has Down syndrome, is in a Head Start program. Head Start includes children with disabilities in all activities.

Kinds of Licensed Child Care

  • Licensed child care must meet state health and safety standards. At least one adult trained in first aid and CPR must be there at all times. All adult caregivers must be fingerprinted and cleared through TrustLine.

    The state licensing department checks homes and centers and responds to complaints. To find licensed child care or to see if a home or center has had violations, call Child Care Connection.

    Family Child Care takes place in the home of the provider. A provider who cares for children from more than one family must be licensed. This type of care offers small groups and continuity of care in a family setting.

    Center-Based Child Care must meet additional standards. The caregivers have more training and each one cares for fewer children.