As the new school year approaches, many parents are busy making arrangements for day care for their children. Finding the right facility that offers the right program can be one of the most difficult tasks a parent faces. As not all child care programs offer the same experience, BBB's Trish Powell is here this morning to offer some helpful tips on choosing the right fit for your child.
Tips for finding the right day care for your child:
Start Early. Some child care programs can have a waiting list or can become full due to licensing regulations. Starting as early as you can gives you a better chance to get into the center you want.
Know what type of program you're looking for. There are different types of child care programs that offer various types of learning environments. Determine what you're looking for to begin your search. Look for the education, experience, and training of caregivers as well as the group size for your child's age.
Do your research. You can go to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (www.txchildcaresearch.org) to find information about all child-care providers licensed, registered or listed with the State of Texas. You can also check a company's BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org.
Plan a visit. Prior to making a decision, plan a visit to each program you're considering. Go during the day while children are there so you can see how caregivers interact with the children, and see what kind of activities are planned out for the children.
Check licensing. While illegal day care may seem attractive due to lower costs and the convenience factor, without regulation there are no checks and balances to protect children
In Texas, child care can be broken down into the following types of operations:
Day Care Centers
Licensed Child-Care Centers provide care for seven or more children under 14 years old for less than 24 hours per day at a location other than the permit holder's home.
Day Care Homes
Licensed Child Care Homes provide care for less than 24 hours per day for 7-12 children under 14 years old in the permit holder's own home.
Registered Child Care Homes
Registered Child Care Homes provide care in the caregiver's home for up to six children under age 14; they may also take in up to six more school-age children.
Listed Family Homes
People who must list with the division are those who are compensated to provide regular child care (at least four hours per day, three or more days a week, for more than nine consecutive weeks) in their own homes for 1-3 unrelated children.
There are more than 13,000 home-based care programs and more than 11,000 child day-care centers in Texas.
Since July, BBB has received over 400 inquiries on child care centers.
To see these and other smart consumer tips from your local BBB go to: