June 15, 2018
Child Care Provider Checklist: Asking the Right Questions
Having lots of choices for child care can be overwhelming. But just like the other choices you make for your family, choosing child care is about what fits your parenting style and needs best. To find out more about child care near you, visit childcarefinder.in.gov, start a chat conversation below or call Brighter Futures Indiana at 1-800-299-1627. These services are FREE to all Hoosier families.
Questions to Start With
Once you have a list of your favorite child care programs — either from the above services or from friends, asking great questions will tell you a lot. These practical questions may answer right away if a provider is a good fit or not:
- Does your child care have an opening for my child for the dates I need to begin care?
- What hours and days are you open?
- Where are you located?
- How much does care cost?
- What age groups do you serve?
Narrow Down Your Choices
If the care provider still seems like a good fit for your family, these next questions can help you narrow down your choices before scheduling an in-person visit:
- Is financial assistance available? For example, do you accept Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) vouchers or provide a sliding fee scale?
- How many children are in your program?
- For larger programs: How many children would be in my child’s class?
- What is the adult-child ratio? (Learn more about health and safety factors to consider.)
- Do you provide meals? If so, which ones (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks)? Do you follow specific nutrition guidelines?
- For infants: do you provide formula and/or diapers? If you are breastfeeding, ask how they can help you meet your nursing goals.
Ask providers about their Paths to QUALITY or licensing status. Learn more about what each level means for children, programs and families at our Paths to QUALITY guide.
If you find a provider that meet yours family’s needs, ask when you can come visit! When you are there, you can ask more questions:
- What do your policies look like?
- Can I visit any time of the day?
- Will you work with me in finding the right approach to discipline or toilet training/diapering?
- What types of food will my child eat?
- Do you have references you can share with me?