For those of you who have children or plan to have children in daycare, there are a few things you should do.
Check out the facility. The facility has a file with the state's Bureau of Child Care Division or Family Services (check with your state). This file is available to the public. You can see if a facility has had any complaints or has been in violation of regulations. You may need to make an appointment before you go to view the file.
Know your state's childcare regulations. The facility should have a copy of these regulations for your review. The daycare I had been using only had one copy, which had to stay at the facility. This meant I could not take the book out of the facility to read it. You can obtain this information from the Internet. Look at the Secretary of State's website.
Read the parent manual carefully. If the facility is not following the manual, ask questions. If the answers you receive from the director do not seem logical, look at the regulations.
If you get into a dispute with the director or owner of the daycare facility he/she can terminate care for your child. This happened to me recently. I received one day's notice. The facility is supposed to give a two-week notice. If it isn't in the regulations, the facility is free to do as they please.
Have a back-up childcare facility or sitter in case you should happen to need other arrangements.
The state regulates when a child can be advanced to the next level. For example, a child who is 18 months old cannot be moved to the two-year-old class until he/she is two years old. This is regardless of how advanced the child may be. It is acceptable to keep a child behind if the child is lacking in development.
When you're taking a tour of the facility, the best time to see what happens is between 9:00 am and 11:00 am. Most facilities will be doing activities at this time. If you see children doing free play or watching television, the facility may not have a structured program. Be very careful when choosing your daycare facility.
What seems great on the surface may be less than reputable on the inside. Investigate, ask other parents, and use your best judgement.
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