Choose the best child care center

Tháng Một 18, 2024

Finding the right child care can sometimes be a stressful experience. There’s a lot of information to consider. It may feel overwhelming at times.

Here are some simple steps that can guide your child care search and make sure you have all the information needed to make the best choice for your child.

Learn The Basics

Understand your child care options.

Learn how child care programs are licensed and regulated to ensure children’s health and safety.

Learn about additional quality standards that help programs go beyond licensing requirements to provide high-quality care to help children learn, grow, and get ready for school.

Search For Child Care Programs In Your Area

Use your state or territory’s online child care search tool. States and territories are required to have an online child care list or search to help you find child care. To find your state or territory’s online child care search, visit the Find Child Care now page.


Review the information that your state or territory provides about child care providers on their online child care search or child care consumer education website. This information can help you make informed child care choices. To find your state or territory’s child care consumer education website, select your state or territory on the “See Your State’s Resources” page and review the “Understanding and Finding Child Care” tab. Here are some specific things to look at.

Licensing Status

Check to see if the program is licensed, registered, certified, or legally licensed-exempt. Also, see if the program’s license been suspended or revoked. To learn more about how child care is regulated, visit’s “Ensuring Safe and Healthy Child Care?” section.

Inspection Reports

Look at each program’s inspection reports to see if the program has violated any health and safety requirements and if and how they fixed those violations. You can also see if there was a child care complaint filed against the program that was found to be valid.

To find your state or territory’s online child care provider licensing and monitoring reports, select your state or territory on the “See Your State’s Resources” page and review the “Understanding and Finding Child Care” tab.

Quality Ratings

Child care quality ratings are how states measure and improve child care program quality. States use these ratings to share information about the quality of programs in a way that is helpful and understandable. To see if your state or territory has a child care rating system and learn more about it, select your state or territory on the “See Your State’s Resources” and review the “Understanding and Finding Child Care” tab.

Contact Each Program.

Ask these questions to help determine if the program meets your child and family’s needs.

Are they licensed? If not, are they legally licensed-exempt?

Do they have space for your child(ren)?

What are their hours of operation?

What is the cost of care?

If you receive child care financial assistance from your state or territory, ask if they accept child care assistance payments.

When can you schedule a time to visit (in-person or virtually)?

Visit Several Programs.

It’s important to visit each program to experience the environment firsthand.

Use the tip sheet during your visit to make sure you look at, listen to, and ask about key program features, which will help you pick the best program for your child.

Because of the current pandemic, some programs may not be able to offer in-person tours at this time. In this case, discuss virtual tour options with programs you are considering.

Consider All The Information You Found.

How did you feel when you called and visited the program? Did you feel welcome? Were the children happy and engaged in age-appropriate activities? Are you confident your child will be happy and safe there?

Which provider made you feel most comfortable?

All in one