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Information for Families

5 steps to finding child care start early connect with Child Care Aware visit providers ask questions make a choice stay involved

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

Online Care button *

* Note: The on-line referral tool may be unavailable at times on weekends for upgrades or repair. We apologize 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.

Merry-go-round

Child Care Aware Family Center News

Noticias del Centro Familiar

What's in this issue:

What is Early Achievers?

Is Your Child Ready to Stay Home Alone?

Summer Learning Day!

Click here to view the Newsletter on line.

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Find Child Care Now!

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You can find child care by:

1. Searching our Online Statewide Referral database. *

2. Calling 1-800-446-1114.

* Note: The on-line referral tool may be unavailable at times on weekends for upgrades or repair. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Billingual Research

Have you ever wondered how the language your baby listens to every day influenced his/her language development? The Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (ILABS) is exploring the relationship between language exposure and speech perception. For this study they are looking for families who:

  • speak English and Spanish at home
  • have babies 4 to 14 months old
  • can make a one hour visit to the UW campus
  • Eligible subjects receive $25 for participating. Parking, bus fare, or other transportation costs will be reimbursed.

    For more information, call ILABS at (206) 616-6221 or email kuhllab@u.washington.edu.