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Written by:  Compiled by Carol McGarrahan
Date: October 13, 2010

Find the best possible fit for child care for your family. In the Triangle, child care is available for infants, toddlers and preschoolers at day care centers as well as in the homes of caregivers. For older children, track-out programs are available, as well as before- and after-school care.

If you are preparing to visit, take a checklist like the one provided below to remind you of things to look for, and to record your observations. If possible, take your child along and observe his or her reaction to the program.

Checklist for In-home Child Care:
Criteria required by the state
* Is there an emergency procedures plan posted?
* Is there a fire extinguisher and working smoke detector on site?
* Is the license displayed in a visible location?
* Are there obvious hazards such as dangerous substances, electrical cords, cleaning materials, or medications accessible to the children?
* Are the toys and materials developmentally appropriate for the different age groups?
* Are any pets in a provider's home current on their vaccinations?
* Are the furnishings in the area used for child care in good repair?

Other criteria to consider
* Is your initial reaction upon entering the child care home positive?
* Is there space for active play and other space available where quiet play may take place?
* Does the provider smoke?
* Are the toys and materials accessible to children?

While visiting a center or an in-home caregiver, remember that you are the consumer, and you have the right to ask as many questions as you want.

Before making your decision about a child care provider, you should visit several facilities. Compare the results of the checklists to determine the best match for your family and your child.

And be certain to review the compliance history of each program you are considering by searching the N.C. Division of Child Development website.

The more information you have, the easier your decision will be.

(Source: The "Parent" section of the N.C. Division of Child Development website at www.ncchildcare.net. Another checklist for Child Care Centers is also available on the site.)



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