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Finding Child Care in a New City

January 6th, 2009 - 8:39 AM

I've got two amazing kids – a 3 year-old and an 8-month-old. Thankfully, I had the good fortune of working and going to church with other moms and dads who could make child care recommendations when my maternity leave ended. Even so, it was a really difficult choice. I can only imagine what a daunting task it is when you're moving to a new city and don't know anyone who can make a recommendation.

So, here are some tips for finding child care in your new city:

1. Check out your state's child care regulatory office. Go to Child Care Aware - a national, government-sponsored program designed to help parents find quality child care. And check out the National Association for Family Child Care. This group helps parents locate accredited family child care providers.
2. Check with your company's Human Resources Department. It's quite possible that they've heard this question before and might be able to provide some child care centers you can check out. They may also be able to put you in contact with other employees who can refer a provider.
3. Contact local churches and schools. They may offer after-school care for your school-aged children – or be able to refer you to reputable providers.

Most importantly, check with your state to learn laws and licensing requirements. Once you've narrowed down your list – here are some questions to ask:

1. Is your facility licensed and accredited?
2. What is the teacher to child ratio and does it change during the day?
3. What type of training do the teachers/child care staff have?
4. Can I drop in anytime during the day?
5. What are your drop-off/pick-up procedures?
6. Who can pick-up my child and how is that regulated?
7. What type of security measures do you have in place (locked doors/security code to enter etc.)
8. What happens if my child gets sick or injured while in your care?
9. What are your discipline procedures?
10. What are your hours?
11. What is your cost?
12. Do I provide lunch/snacks or does the center provide?
13. Are there extra fees? (like supply fee, activity fee etc)