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Tips for Your Child Care Search

It can be hard to know where to start when you’re looking for a child care provider. Here are some tips and recommended questions to ask in your search.

7 Tips for Finding the Right Child Care for Your Family

  1. Start early. Give yourself as much time as possible to find the best situation for your child. Many families start looking for child care during pregnancy.
  2. Consider your family’s needs and priorities. Think about what is most important to you in a child care setting. Do you need child care that’s close to work or your home? Full-time or part-time care? Does your child have special care needs? What are your cultural or language needs?
  3. Ask questions of providers. Call child care providers and ask questions about their services. Let them know about the needs of your child and make a list of the providers that meet your criteria. What times are they open? What is the enrollment process like? What is the cost, and are subsidies accepted? What do they do to monitor the quality of care and safety?
  4. Pay a visit. Visit the facility in person, if you can. Some providers offer ways to connect virtually, which may be more convenient. During the visit, observe activities and staff-child interactions. Can you imagine your child in the environment?
  5. Make a shortlist. Make a short list of child care providers you like and rank them in order of which ones will work best for your family. Apply to the program that best meets your needs. If your child isn’t accepted, move on to your second choice, and so on.
  6. Refer to our checklist. Use the Child Care Aware of Washington Checklist to help you assess the child care program’s ability to meet the needs of your child.
  7. Connect with us. Our Family Center can explain the different types of child care options and help you find a suitable program for your family. We can also help connect you with programs that offer financial assistance. Call us at (800) 446-1114.
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