Child care is more than a service that allows parents to
work. It is a world that is bound to affect a child’s development in many ways –
physically, emotionally, intellectually, and socially.
According to the U.S Department of
Health and Human Services, finding quality child care that is affordable can be challenging. Many
parents need inexpensive or cost-free day care where they know their children are safe and are being
helped to grow and develop. Parents can now contact their local social service agency (listed in the
phone book) for information about government-sponsored programs such as Head Start and Early Head
Start and other community programs.
The National Women’s Health Information Center (NWHIC)
also recommends taking the following steps to choosing quality child care.
Choosing Quality Child Care:
- Look. Visit several child care homes or centers. Visit the
home or center more than once and stay as long as possible so you can get a good feel for what the
care will be like for your child. Continue to visit even after you start using the home or center.
- Listen. Make sure the place is cheerful and not too quiet, which can mean not enough activity.
Happy-sounding children means they are involved and busy.
- Count. Count the number of children in
the group and the number of staff members caring for them. The fewer the number of children for each
staff member, the more attention your child will get.
- Ask. Adults who care for children need
knowledge and experience. Ask about the background and experience of all staff that will have
contact with your child in the home or center.
- Be Informed. Find out more about efforts in your
community to improve the quality of child care. Ask if the home or center is involved in these
activities. Consider getting involved yourself.
Visit the web sites of the following
organizations for more guidelines on choosing child care.
- The National Child Care Information Center
- Head Start Information and Publication Center
- American Psychological Association
- American Academy of