BBB Tip: Finding quality childcare
Deciding on a child care provider can be daunting. It’s a big change for a family to make — and a costly one. Rising child care rates and a shortage of providers have made finding quality care more difficult. Read more or listen to Better Business Bureau Regional Director Pamela Hernandez below:
When you’re looking for someone to care for something so precious as children, trust is a must-have. Parents and guardians need to be confident in their children’s safety and happiness while they’re at work.
Starting child care is also a milestone for little ones! For many, a care center is one of the first places they play with other children, practice social skills and learn, making it all the more important to find a good provider.
With care in high demand, it can be tough for families to find a provider they trust. BBB received nearly 160,000 inquiries about child care providers in 2022, demonstrating that parents are seeking to make a well-informed decision.
To make the search a bit easier, parents and guardians can use BBB.org to view trusted, vetted child care providers near them. BBB advises parents and guardians to take plenty of time in their child care search to find the best care for their needs.
Some additional tips:
- Check for accreditation. At BBB.org, you can view Business Profiles for child care providers in your area to see reviews and complaints, or to learn if a provider is accredited. BBB Accredited Businesses are vetted, trusted care providers.
- Ask for recommendations from friends and family. When it comes to something as personal as child care, it can be reassuring to have a recommendation from someone you know and trust. You can use BBB.org to check if providers recommended to you are accredited.
- Determine what kind of care you need: full- or part-time, in-home or facility-based. Consider factors like the location in relation to your home and work, hours, cost and educational opportunities for your children.
- Know your budget. Your budget for child care will likely inform your decision. Ask about fees, deposits and payment deadlines to ensure you have the full financial picture.
- Tour facilities or meet providers in advance. While you’re there, make sure the facility or home is clean, well-maintained and safe. Ask about staff credentials, the staff-to-child ratio and how children are grouped (by age, etc.). If possible, see if your child can spend some time in the child care center or home before you enroll.
- Check safety procedures. It’s good to know what safety and wellness protocols are in place and how an accident will be handled. What will happen if your child is hurt or becomes ill? Will you be called or notified before you arrive to pick up your child?
- Ask about the daily schedule. What’s the balance between structured and unstructured activities? How are children put down for naps, and how often are they checked on while sleeping? What if your child can’t go to sleep?
- Verify licenses and insurance. Ask if the facility is licensed by the state or local community, and if it carries appropriate liability insurance.
- Get reviews from parents. If possible, speak with other parents who are using the same provider to discuss their experiences.
- Get the jump on it. Start looking well before you need the service. Child care is in high demand, and it’s not uncommon for providers to have wait lists. Save yourself the stress and allow some buffer time during your search.