STEPS FOR FINDING CHILD CARE
Choosing child care that is right for your child is an important decision. Let CDSC’s Child Care Resource and Referral Department (CCR&R) help you or call parent services call 718-398-6738.
When you call, trained multilingual CCR&R counselors will be available to talk with you over the telephone about your child care needs and options. Once they gather information about your needs, the agency will send you a Consumer Education Referral packet that has a listing of child care programs that match your child care needs in the area you requested, along with other resources.
Carefully review the information in the packet and the list of available child care options. Make an appointment to see the child care programs. The final responsibility of evaluating, selecting, and monitoring the performance of a child care program is yours as a parent. CCR&R agencies make referrals only. They do not make recommendations. The child care choice is always the family’s responsibility. However, if you are not satisfied with the referrals you received, feel free to request a new list.
You should visit each child care program before you make a decision. When you visit be prepared to ask questions about the type of care the program is offering and to observe the area where your child(ren) will spend time.
ASK AND OBSERVE
The following checklist can help when you visit a child care program:
- Is the program regulated or licensed?
- Are the hours suitable for your work schedule?
- Can you afford the fees?
- Are meals and snacks appropriate and nutritious?
- Is transportation available?
- Are the group size and age grouping acceptable?
- Is the staff well trained?
- Are the disciplinary methods acceptable?
- Is the staff friendly and cooperative?
- Are children treated as individuals?
- Is the setting bright and cheerful?
- Do the children seem happy and comfortable in the environment?
- Are there enough books, blocks, toys, puzzles,games, etc.?
- Can children get things for themselves?
- Does the caregiver provide references?
- Do you feel comfortable leaving your children?
- Are the children given the chance to make
- choices about toys and activities?
- Can parents make random unannounced visits?
- Are group activities planned for children?
- Does the program look clean and safe for every
- age child and are electrical outlets covered?
- Is there enough space inside and out so all children have room to play?
- Do the children seem interested and happy to be there?
- What are the basic emergency procedures?
- Are emergency numbers posted near a telephone?
- Does the child care provider enjoy being with the children?
While you are at work or school, you want to be confident about the well-being of your children. Making a decision about child care is very important; one that requires a lot of work. Every parent looks for a child care program that is safe, caring and affordable. Before deciding, be sure to check licensing records before selecting a child care program or provider. You can check the licensing records at www.ocfs.state.ny.us or http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/dc/dc.shtml
In addition, you should ask yourself:
- Which child care program is best for my child and me?
- Do I have all the information I need to make an informed choice?
Child care should be a rewarding experience for parents, children and child care providers.
Rating Child Care Programs
QUALITYstarsNY is New York State’s quality rating and improvement system. It is a voluntary program to rate, improve and communicate levels of quality in all regulated early care and learning programs. For more information about the an its impact on child care, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 718-254-7316.
Health and Safety
A major concern of parents when they drop their children off at a child care program is the safety of their children in the hands of the caregivers. Some things to look for that indicate the program is safe & healthy are working smoke detectors, toys and equipment are in good condition, food prep areas are separated from restroom and diapering areas. The daily routine should also include proper handwashing and diapering procedures, and direct competent supervision of children at all times. This is not a comprehensive list.
Parents and families have the most direct and lasting impact on a child. When parents are involved, children are more confident, and feel more comfortable especially in a new setting. Choosing a program that welcomes parents to come in during the time the child is in care is the first step in getting to know the “important people” in a child care program. Know what is expected of you, and what you can expect from a program. Volunteer to help out at the program, to read to the children or go on a field trip. Always keep the lines of communication open.
New York State Law requires providers to give parents the opportunity to discuss issues related to their children. These opportunities must occur at the time of enrollment and as frequently as needed thereafter, but at least annually. It is the parent’s right to know what is happening while their child is in a child care program. Do not hesitate to ask questions.
Accreditation is a voluntary system by which programs measure themselves against a national set of standards. Going beyond minimum licensing standards, accredited programs make a commitment to excellence. Caregivers in accredited programs take part in on-going training. They are more likely to understand children’s needs at different ages, plan appropriate activities, interact with children in warm and stimulating ways, and provide positive guidance for children rather than harsh discipline. For more information about program accreditation visit these websites: www.naeyc.org/accreditation for day care centers; www.nafcc.org for family or group family program; www.afterschoolworksny.org for school-age program
Caregiver Education and Turnover
Caregivers in child care centers, school-age programs, and registered/licensed family child care programs must receive a minimum of thirty hours of educational training every two years, fifteen hours of which must be completed during the first six months of employment in a center or school-age program. In family child care programs, providers must complete fifteen hours of training during the first six months of program registration or licensing.
Checking Complaints On Child Care Programs
To check the complaint history of a program, visit the NYS Office of Children and Family Services website at www.ocfs.state.ny.us or call the Bureau of Child Care: NYC Dept. of Health borough office at:
• For Group Child Care: (718) 579-7775
• For Home-based & School-age Child Care: (718) 410-3903
Brooklyn and Staten Island
• For Group Child Care: (718) 222-6323
• For Home-based & School-age Child Care: (718) 222-6390
• For Group Child Care & For Home-based & School-age Child Care: (212) 313-5120
• For Group Child Care & For Home-based & School-age Child Care: (718) 393-6257
• For Group Child Care Centers: (718) 520-4926 or (718) 520-4927
Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK)
All New York City children who turn four years of age by December 31, 2017 are eligible for free Universal Pre-K seats. To find a UPK seat in your area click here.