Information for Families
During your child care search, you will want to locate providers near your home, work or child's school. The Child Care Aware of Washington Family Center can help you with your search.
Call 1-800-446-1114 OR
* Note: The on-line referral tool will be down for upgrades from 1 AM, 12/7 through 7 AM, 12/9. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.
Five Steps to Finding Quality Child Care
1- Start early and think about your family’s needs and values
Give yourself as much time as possible to find the best situation for your child. Think about your needs. Do you want child care close to work or home? Do you need full-time or part-time care? Does your child have special care needs? What is most important to you about a child care setting?
2- Connect with Child Care Aware – www.wa.childcareaware.org or 1-800-446-1114
The experts in the Child Care Aware of Washington Family Center can help you understand different types of child care and what to consider when trying to find a program suitable for your family. We can provide referrals to specific programs, information about financial assistance and ways for you to identify quality child care.
3- Call, visit and ask questions
Begin calling potential providers. Ask about openings, hours, the enrollment process and fees, weekly/monthly costs, and whether subsidies are accepted. Find out what the program is doing to maintain and increase quality and how they meet quality indicators. If a child care seems like it could work for you, make an appointment to visit. Spend time talking to the provider, observe activities and interactions and imagine your child in the environment. Use this CHECKLIST to help measure the program's qualitity and decide whether it will work for your family.
4- Make a choice
Choose the program that best meets your family’s needs. It may be necessary to have alternates if your first choice falls through.
5- Stay involved
The key to ensuring quality child care is to stay involved. Have parent-caregiver meetings regularly. Get to know other families. Be there for your child’s birthday and, when you can, take part in field trips and other special events. Keep as close to agreed-upon drop-off and pick-up times as possible. Ask your child what he or she does during the day. Spend a few minutes each day talking to the caregiver about your child. Show your appreciation and ask questions.
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