Moving to a new city presents many challenges for families, and the task of finding quality care for children in a new location can be particularly daunting. Fortunately, finding a caregiver in a new city doesn’t have to depend on guesswork. The following steps can assist you in finding the type of care arrangement that will best suit your family’s needs.
Identify Your Needs and Expectations
When it comes to choosing child care, there are a number of arrangements available, including family child care homes, child care centers, nannies and nanny shares. A child care provider’s location, facilities and academic and social programs will also factor into your decision. Make a list of your ideal caregiver qualities before you start your search.
Waiting lists for care vary widely depending on the type of caregiver you are seeking. If possible, start contacting your preferred caregivers several months prior to the date you’ll need them. The California Child Care Resource & Referral Network, a state-funded operation, can put a wealth of information at your fingertips about every county in California.
These organizations provide free information on choosing child care, referrals to child care centers and family child care homes, and information on how to pay for child care. To find an R&R, call (800) 543-7793 or check out the map on the website. San Bernardino County is the largest county on the far right.
The California Child Care Licensing Program licenses and monitors family child care homes and child care centers to ensure that they provide safe, healthy environments. Confirm a potential provider’s licensing by going to the website www.ccld.ca.gov/PG411.htm.
Screen by phone
Your initial conversation with a provider will help you know if their services are a good fit for your family.
Make an initial visit
Try to plan your first visit to a provider without your child so you can ask detailed questions and assess the situation without distractions.
Ask for program details
The provider should be able to give you a clear, concise description of philosophy, programs, curriculum and facilities.
Ask about accommodations for special needs (if applicable)
By law, child care programs must make reasonable accommodations for children with special needs. Discuss your child’s needs with prospective providers and ask how those needs would be handled.
Make a second visit with your child
Schedule your visit during business hours and note the interaction between your child and the caregivers, as well as the interactions between your child and the other children.
Close the deal
If the provider is a good fit for your family, ask for a contract. Make sure you understand all of the provider’s policies and procedures before you sign it.