October 19, 2022
Finding the right child care can sometimes be a stressful experience. There’s a lot of information to consider. It may feel overwhelming at times.
Here are some simple steps that can guide your child care search and make sure you have all the information needed to make the best choice for your child.
Use your state or territory’s online child care search tool. States and territories are required to have an online child care list or search to help you find child care. To find your state or territory’s online child care search, visit the Find Child Care now page.
Review the information that your state or territory provides about child care providers on their online child care search or child care consumer education website. This information can help you make informed child care choices. To find your state or territory’s child care consumer education website, select your state or territory on the “See Your State’s Resources” page and review the “Understanding and Finding Child Care” tab. Here are some specific things to look at.
Check to see if the program is licensed, registered, certified, or legally licensed-exempt. Also, see if the program’s license been suspended or revoked. To learn more about how child care is regulated, visit ChildCare.gov’s “Ensuring Safe and Healthy Child Care?” section.
Look at each program’s inspection reports to see if the program has violated any health and safety requirements and if and how they fixed those violations. You can also see if there was a child care complaint filed against the program that was found to be valid.
Child care quality ratings are how states measure and improve child care program quality. States use these ratings to share information about the quality of programs in a way that is helpful and understandable. To see if your state or territory has a child care rating system and learn more about it, select your state or territory on the “See Your State’s Resources" and review the “Understanding and Finding Child Care” tab.
Ask these questions to help determine if the program meets your child and family’s needs.
It’s important to visit each program to experience the environment firsthand.