As a caretaker (parent), what to do about child care is one of the most important decisions you will make. Many caretakers (parents) are concerned about leaving their child in the care someone they don’t know. these concerns are perfectly natural. The best way to feel more comfortable is to be well informed and select a child care provider you trust that meets your needs.

There are several things to think about when choosing who will care for your children.

Child Safety

Licensed centers and certified homes are required to meet health, fire and safety standards. All child care providers are inspected at least twice a year to make sure these standards are maintained.

Time of day and hours you will need care

Most child care centers are open Monday through Friday, from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Only a few child care centers are open evenings and weekends. More child care homes operate evenings and weekends.

Your child’s age

Child care centers typically care for children between the ages of two and five. Fewer centers care for infants. Many child care homes care for infants and children of all ages. Child care centers typically group children of the same age together. Child care homes have children of all ages grouped together.


How flexible is your work schedule when your child is ill? Most child care centers cannot care for a child when they are ill. Most child care homes will continue to care for a mildly ill child.


Your child care provider should be in a location that is convenient to you.


A good child care provider or program can help your child’s development. Both centers and homes can have excellent educational and enrichment programs.

What should I do to select a good child care provider?

Quality child care can be found in both homes and centers. Below are five steps we recommend parents take to select a good child care provider.


Visit a number of child care centers and homes. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the home or center clean and comfortable?
  • Does it appear safe? Look at the condition of the toys, play area, bathrooms, etc.
  • Are there educational materials and activities for children your child’s age?
  • Are there toys that would interest your child?
  • Ask to see where your child will eat, sleep and play


  • Do the children and the provider or center staff sound happy?
  • Is the conversation between children and staff respectful and calm?


  • Are there enough adults present to care for the children?
  • How many children are with each adult? The fewer children to each adult, the better.


  • How much training has the provider or staff had?
  • What are the provider/center’s discipline policies?
  • Does the provider have references? A provider should be able to provide a list.

Be Informed

HCJFS 7967 (Rev. 2-12)