Question: How Can I Find Good Quality In-Home Child Care?
I'm at my wit's end in finding good quality in-home care. But I'm soooo afraid and trust no one -- for good reason. My child has been in three family homes (and she's not even 3). The first we had to leave because we moved. At the second, I took my daughter out because she had unexplained bruises (and I found out later the caregiver is being investigated for harm to a child). Now, my daughter is in a NAEYC accredited family home that is about to close. Help! (Posted on Child Care Forum.)
Answer: Responses are from professional Child Care Providers who post on the Child Care Forum:
- You're already doing a lot of things right. You are looking for personal recommendations as well as national accreditation in the child care providers you consider. There are good quality programs out there, but even the best of them will not always be perfect or a perfect fit for your needs. Keep looking!
- Decide if you are interested in a nanny, a home provider, or a center. Nannies typically work in your home for your child and you can look for one whose child-rearing value system is similar to your own. They are a costly option. Home providers typically have small, mixed age groups and the child is with the same caregiver. The atmosphere is home-like, while licensing, registration, and/or accreditation help to ensure the child's health and well-being. With a home provider, you may be responsible for your own back-up plan in case the provider needs a day off. You are also less likely to meet a lot of children at your child's stage of development. Centers often have the longest available hours and are the least likely to close on you. They also are typically regulated through licensing and accreditation. Centers may have a high turnover of staff and the child may have two or more caregivers throughout the day.
- Be persistent when placing your children in a place. Don't just visit it once; visit it twice and three times at different times during the day.
- Ask some of the parents what they are going to do with their children when the place you're at closes and get references from them about where they are going.