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Checklist: How to Find Childcare

Choosing someone to care for your children while you work is one of the most important decisions you will make. The following checklist can help you find childcare that's right for your children. By answering the questions below, you'll be able to determine whether a particular home or center meets your criteria, so that you can be more informed and more confident with your decision, and your child can be in the best possible hands. You can also download the checklist to keep with you as you look to find childcare for your child.

While (or immediately after) visiting each potential childcare facility, consider the following questions: Yes No
Do you have a positive first impression as you walk through the front door? ____ ____
Is the home or center licensed? ____ ____
Do(es) the caregiver(s) have appropriate education, experience, and training? ____ ____
Does the home or center provide a handbook that covers important rules and policies? ____ ____
Do you feel comfortable with the rules and policies? ____ ____
Does the caregiver-to-child ratio meet state requirements and your expectations? ____ ____
Does the home or center look and smell clean? ____ ____
Do the caregivers wash their hands after changing diapers and helping children in the bathroom? ____ ____
Do the children wash their hands after using the bathroom? ____ ____
Do the caregivers wash their hands before handling food? ____ ____
Do the children wash their hands before eating? ____ ____
Is the home or center safe and child-proof? ____ ____
Are small toys kept away from infants and toddlers? ____ ____
Are outlets covered? ____ ____
Are doors to stairways closed, or are stairways gated? ____ ____
Is there the required number of operational smoke detectors? ____ ____
Are fire extinguishers handy? ____ ____
Are cupboards containing harmful substances securely latched? ____ ____
Are emergency numbers posted by all telephones? ____ ____
Are outdoor areas fenced and/or away from traffic areas? ____ ____
Do the children appear happy? ____ ____
Is the home or center too noisy or too quiet? ____ ____
Does the caregiver smile at the children? ____ ____
Does the caregiver talk so that the children can understand him or her? ____ ____
Does the caregiver demonstrate a positive attitude? ____ ____
Does it appear that the caregiver loves what he or she is doing? ____ ____
Does the caregiver show affection toward the children? ____ ____
Does the caregiver respond appropriately to crying children? ____ ____
Does the caregiver answer the children's questions? ____ ____
Does the caregiver appear patient? ____ ____
Does the caregiver encourage the children to treat each other with respect? ____ ____
Is the caregiver respectful to other parents? ____ ____
Are other parents happy with the care their children receive at the home or center? ____ ____
Does the caregiver follow a daily schedule? ____ ____
Is outdoor play a part of each day, weather permitting? ____ ____
Are plenty of toys and books available? ____ ____
Does the caregiver read to the children? ____ ____
Are there planned activities each day, such as games or crafts? ____ ____
Do the children go on field trips? ____ ____
Are drivers licensed and experienced in transporting children? ____ ____
Are the vehicles safe? ____ ____
Do the children use appropriate restraints? ____ ____
Are children given the time and a quiet place to nap or rest? ____ ____
Does the home or center provide nutritious meals and snacks? ____ ____
Is the location convenient for you to drop off and pick up your child? ____ ____
Does the home or center allow you to visit at any time, with or without notice? ____ ____
Have any complaints been filed against the provider? ____ ____
Has the provider's license ever been suspended? ____ ____
Does the cost compare favorably with comparable facilities? ____ ____
Will you feel comfortable leaving your child there? ____ ____
Next Steps
Contact a qualified family law attorney to make sure
your rights are protected.
(e.g., Chicago, IL or 60611)

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