Finding the right child care provider takes work

And it takes asking a lot of questions – from the practical ones about hours and meals, to the personal ones about discipline and toilet training. As parents talk to providers, the most important question to consider is, “Will my child receive loving and careful attention?"

Your local child care resource and referral agency can help you choose the type of care that best fits your needs and values.

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See our child care glossary for descriptions of more child care terms

When considering a provider:

  1. Interview and observe the potential provider with the child.
    Explore why this caregiver wants to care for children.
    How does s/he feel about this work?
    Is this person warm, caring, attentive, and responsive to the child who will be in this care?
  2. Ask the potential provider:
    What do they like to do with children?
    What are their feelings about discipline?
    How do they handle naps, eating, toilet training?
    How would they handle an emergency?
  3. Ask a lot of "what if" questions, for example:
    What if my child cries all day?
    What if my child refuses to eat?
    What if my child refuses to nap?
  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

Parents have the right to receive information regarding any substantiated or inconclusive complaint about any licensed child care provider. That information is public and can be acquired by calling the local licensing office. (Oliver’s Law Language per AB633 (Benoit) – 2006)

Find your regional licensing office