ANSWER: Interview Caregivers

1) Call first and ask:

  • Is there an opening for my child?
  • What hours and days are you open and where are you located?
  • How much does care cost? Is financial assistance available?
  • How many children are in your care? What age groups do you serve?
  • Do you provide transportation?
  • Do you provide meals? (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks)?
  • Do caregivers have special qualifications or training?
  • When can I come to visit?

2) Next, visit more than one provider and take the time to look for:

  • Responsive, nurturing, warm interactions between caregiver and children.
  • Children who are happily involved in daily activities and comfortable with their caregiver.
  • A clean, save, and healthy indoor and outdoor environment, especially napping, eating and toileting areas.
  • A variety of toys and learning materials, such as books, puzzles, blocks, or climbing equipment, that your child will find interesting and that will help their growth and development.
  • Children getting individual attention.

3) And ask:

  • Can I visit at any time?
  • How do you handle discipline?
  • What do you do if a child is sick?
  • What would you do in case of an emergency?
  • Are all children and staff required to be immunized?
  • Do you have a substitute or back-up caregiver?
  • Where do children nap? Do you know that babies should go to sleep on their backs?
  • What training have you (and other staff and substitutes) had?
  • May I see a copy of your CCD certification or registration?
  • May I have a list of parents who have used your care now and in the past?

 

Check References

1) Ask other parents:

  • Was the caregiver reliable every day?
  • How did the caregiver discipline your child?
  • Did your child enjoy the child care?
  • How did the caregiver respond to you as a parent?
  • Was the caregiver respectful of your values and culture?
  • Would you recommend the caregiver without reservation?
  • If your child is no longer with the caregiver, why did you leave?

2) Ask the local CCR&R or the state Child Care Division

  • What regulations should the child care provider meet?
  • Are there complaints about the child care provider I am considering and how do I find out about them?

 

Make the Decision for Quality Care

1) From what you heard and saw, ask yourself:

  • Which child care should I choose so my child will be happy and grow?
  • Which caregiver can meet the special needs of my child?
  • Are the caregiver’s values similar to my family’s values?
  • Is the care available and affordable, and meets my family’s needs and resources?
  • Do I feel good about my decision?

2) Stay involved

  • Ask yourself how can I arrange my schedule so I can:
  • Talk to my caregiver every day?
  • Talk to my child every day about how the day went?
  • Visit and observe my child in care at different times of the day?
  • Be involved in my child’s activities?
  • How can I work with my caregiver to resolve issues and concerns that arise?
  • How do I stay informed about my child’s growth and development while in care?
  • How can I promote good working conditions for my child care provider?
  • How can I network with other parents?

 

After You’ve Found Child Care

1) It is important to set up a good relationship with the provider. This depends a lot on good communication:

  • Let your provider know what kind of care you expect for your child. It’s a good idea to drop in unexpectedly every so often to be sure you’re happy with the care your children are getting.
  • Discuss your work schedule so the provider knows when your child will be there.
  • Ask the provider when you need to pay your co-pay or other charges.
  • Tell a caregiver in advance when you plan to change providers.
  • How can I work with my caregiver to resolve issues and concerns that arise?
  • How do I stay informed about my child’s growth and development while in care?
  • How can I promote good working conditions for my child care provider?
  • How can I network with other parents?

Information from Oregon Department of Human Resources. More information can be obtained at http://egov.oregon.gov/DHS/children/.