One of the hardest and most important choices working parents can make is deciding who will care for their children while they’re at work. Parents should take plenty of time to find safe, reliable child care that suits their children and schedules.
Nationally, BBB processed more than 400 complaints about child care in 2018. Common complaints included billing and contract issues, problems with student records, and quality of care. Parents need to determine first what kind of care they need: full or part-time, in-home or facility-based. Consider the location in relation to your home and work, the hours, cost and educational opportunities for the children.
BBB has the following tips for parents seeking quality child care. Visit several facilities or caregivers, find out how staff are selected, and what their credentials are. What is the staff-to-child ratio? How are children grouped? By age, or by stage of development? Ask whether the facility is licensed by the state or local community, and whether it carries appropriate liability insurance.
Ask about safety procedures, and how an accident might be handled. What will happen if your child is hurt or gets sick at the center? Will you be immediately called or notified? Are there fees and payment deadlines, and is financial assistance available?
Ask about the balance between structured and unstructured activities. Make sure the center or daycare home is clean, with enough space and safety equipment for children to play. Call at least three parents whose children are enrolled in the program to discuss their experiences.
Note your child’s behavior before and after their enrollment, and allow plenty of time for adjustment, especially in the first day or first week at the center. Then, call or visit the facility once your child is enrolled to find out how they’re doing and to establish rapport with the staff.