Finding Child Care
All young children deserve a quality care environment. Finding the right child care provider is often challenging, but it is one of the most important decisions a family will make. Use the information below to help guide you as you select a child care provider.
1. Allow time to find a provider
Exploring multiple providers will help you feel confident when you make a final decision. If possible, begin several weeks ahead of time. It may take time to find a program and provider that fits your needs. Many providers also have waiting lists, especially for infants. Knowing that your child is well cared for will be worth the effort and time you put into finding the right program.
2. Consider your specific needs
What days and times do you need care? Where will you be needing care? What is your budget? Ask yourself these questions at the beginning of your child care search, and make sure to write down any other considerations your child may have as well, such as any special needs you may have, dietary restrictions and if your child needs transportation to and from school.
3. Call the child care providers
When you’re ready, begin calling the providers that you think will be a good fit. Begin each phone call by asking if it's a good time to talk (if not, find out when is a better time to call back). Then you may want to discuss the following topics, along with anything else that is important to you:
- Available openings
- Fees the provider charges
- Scheduling needs
- Typical day routines
- Location of child care
- Unexpected parent visits policy
- Allergies your child may have: smoke, pets, food, etc.
If you like what you hear on the phone, arrange a time to visit the child care site.
4. Visit the child care providers
Arrange a time to visit the providers when other children are present so that you can observe the provider’s interactions with children. Consider bringing your own child along with the understanding that it is only a visit and no decision will be made at this point. Some things you may look for during a visit are:
- Over-all positive feeling
- Positive guidance being used
- Happy background noise
- Provider communicates well
- Provider focuses on children
- Environment is safe with space for activities
- Provider is caring & energetic
- Provider is prepared for emergencies
5. Follow up with questions
If you do not see enough during your visit, ask the provider "what if" questions for various scenarios. Schedule a time to talk if necessary. Questions to ask include:
- What outings will the group take?
- What training or classes has the provider taken?
- Does the provider take pre-arranged vacations?
- Can parents bring mildly-ill children?
- What is the policy when the child gets sick during the day?
- What emergencies have happened and how were they handled?
- Does the provider have a regular substitute caregiver?
6. Ask for references
When you find a provider you like, ask for names and phone numbers of parents you can call as references. Ask the parents about their children's experiences, such as if they would choose the provider again if given the choice?
After you have narrowed down your list of potential providers, contact the local licensing agency to check for any complaints that have been made against them. Weber, Davis and Morgan county families can contact licensing at 801-273-6617 or toll free at 1-888-287-3704. The licensing department can also let you know the provider's compliance history as well. Provider’s profiles can also be viewed online at cac.utah.gov.
7. Make a decision
When you are ready and have explored all your options, weigh all of the information, trust your feelings and make a final decision. Consider things like where your child would be happiest and where you would feel the most comfortable taking your child.
The Child Care Aware website offers additional resources to help you conduct your child care search. When you’re ready to start searching, you can also visit our online child care database to find a facility that fits your needs.