For some parents, this may seem like a trick question, especially if they are searching for childcare for the first time, or unhappy with their current childcare situation.
One important aspect of having your child in the care of someone else is that both you and your child are comfortable with the Childcare Provider or Caregiver and the environment they provide. Communicating with the Caregiver on a regular basis regarding your concerns is crucial. You must be able to work together to resolve any issues that arise before they become problems. If this is not possible, you may need to begin the search for a new caregiver.
When searching for a new caregiver, check with friends, family members, co-workers, your church, and schools in your neighborhood for recommendations or listings of childcare providers. In addition, the following options are available both on and offline:
State of Oregon Licensing Agency: 1-800-556-6616
Metro Childcare Resources and Referral: 503-253-5000
Oregon Childcare Resource and Referral Network: 1-800-342-6712
Daycare Hotline: or www.day carehotline.com
State of Oregon.com: www.stateoforegon.com
Childcare Seekers: www.childcareseekers.com
The above resources should provide you with an ample list of name and numbers of providers in your area, but before you contact the Caregivers, you need to determine the type of environment you want for your child.
Choosing the best environment for your child is a personal choice that you and your spouse should discuss prior to interviewing a caregiver.
The most common issues involve:
- Choosing between home day care or center based care
- How many children would you like in your child’s group?
- Do you want your child in a mixed age group of children or in a group of children his/her own age?
- What type of daily schedule would you like your child to follow?
- What activities do you want your child to participate in on a daily basis?
- Do you want your child to participate in an academic curriculum?
- What types of meals and snacks are served and when?
- Do you want your child transported off site for field trips and other activities?
Other items to consider involving your child’s care:
- Does the provider have a written contract stating their hours of operation, pay schedule, fees and dates of closure?
- Do theses policies accommodate your work and pay schedule?
- The distance between your child’s caregiver and your employer. This not only will affect your daily routine for dropping off and picking up your child, but will play an important role in the event your child is injured, becomes ill or there is an emergency while your child is in the providers care.
- Does the provider have written rules and policies regarding illness, discipline, and safety?Do these rules meet your expectations?
- What precautions are taken by the Caregiver regarding the release of your child to other individuals?
- What type of experience or training would you like the Provider to have, in addition to the training required by the state?
- Are the Facility’s Child Safety Proof Standards age appropriate for your child?
- If your child has special needs, can the provider accommodate those needs?
Before making your final selection of a Caregiver, it’s crucial to obtain references. Ask the Caregiver to provide a list of references and their State Licensing Agency Registration, Licensing or Certification Number. Although the requirements are different for Home and Center based care, working with a registered or licensed Caregiver, ensures parents that the Caregiver or Center has met certain criteria in accordance with the state’s current rules and regulations. Contact each of the references, including the State Licensing Agency and find out if there have been any complaints filed against the Caregiver or Staff.As a parent, choosing a childcare setting can seem like a difficult task, but if you use common sense and know in advance what type of care you expect from the caregiver, you can experience a childcare setting that both you and your child enjoy attending each day.