Research shows that children's healthy development depends on safe and positive experiences during the early years of life. If you are a parent who works during these early years, choosing good child care is one of the most important decisions you will ever make.
1. Choose a Paths to QUALITY™ child care program for your child
- Look for the Paths to QUALITY ™ decal.
- Ask the provider how long they have participated in Path to QUALITY™.
To find Paths to QUALITY™ programs click here
2. Choose a safe and healthy environment for your child
Regulations cover issues like the number of children that can be in a group, the number of child care providers required for each group, staff training requirements, sanitation, administration of medicines, food preparation and serving, safety hazards, learning activities, background checks and communication with parents.
It’s important to know: Not all child care programs are regulated and not all regulations are the same. Licensed and registered programs are inspected to make sure they are complying with regulations. Indiana issues licenses for two types of child care programs: child care centers and family child care homes. A child care program operated by a church or religious ministry must be registered with the Bureau of Child Care and is considered an Unlicensed Registered Child Care Ministry.
Ensure the child care program conducts national, criminal history checks, sex offender registry checks, and does not employ or allow any volunteers with misdemeanors and/or felonies that could endanger your child .
For a brief video describing the different types of care, click here
Keep your child safe and healthy, remember to:
- Inspect the posted license/registration certificate to make sure it is current
- Check carefinderindiana.org for inspection results
- Ask how long the program has been licensed or registered.
- Ask how the program screens potential employees and volunteers
- Ask for the names of other parents whose children are currently and have been previously enrolled. Check references!
3. Choose a program where your child will receive lots of individualized attention
Choosing child care is one of the most important decisions you will make for your child, remember these important points:
- The fewer the children per caregiver and the smaller the group size, the more likely your child is to receive one on one attention. Count the number of children in care. For more information on recommended ratios for high quality care, click here.
- The younger the children are, the more caregivers there should be.
- Make sure children are supervised at all times—Never left alone, not even at nap time or other times during the day.
- Make sure the program has an open door policy. Particularly in the first few months, stop by announced and observe the caregivers in action with your child.
4. Choose caregivers that have specialized education and training to care for your child
When choosing care for your child, choose carefully:
- Make sure the caregivers have training and education to help maintain a safe and healthy environment
- The caregiver responsible for your child should have completed a degree or credential. Ask about their previous education and experience.
- All caregivers should know how to administer First Aid and CPR. This is not a regulation in all types of care, but you should make sure your child is always being cared for by someone with this skill.
- All caregivers should be trained and understand how to meet the needs of your child and other children in their care.
- All child care staff, volunteers, and substitutes trained on and implementing infant back sleeping and safe sleep policies to reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, crib death)? (When infants are sleeping, they should be on their backs with no pillows, quilts, stuffed toys, or other soft bedding in the crib with them.)