Tips on choosing a reputable child care provider

By John North BBB President CEO

December 20, 2013

With the holidays around the corner, many children will have an extended break from school. Many parents will be looking for trustworthy child care. Your Better Business Bureau offers tips to help you make your decision.

According to the United States Census, about 32.7 million children in the U.S. are in some type of child care every week. On average, a family pays about $143 per child a week on childcare.

Over the last year, your BBB recorded 2,800 inquiries locally. However, almost 222,000 inquiries and 490 complaints were filed nationally with your BBB about the child care industry. Complaints to BBB nationally allege a variety of issues including problems with billing, supervision, staffing, educational opportunities and some employee concerns. Some, more serious complaints allege centers failed to properly notify parents of a medical emergency.

Your Better Business Bureau offers tips for finding reliable child care:

- Begin your search early. This will allow you plenty of time to make a decision and get your child enrolled on time.

- Get recommendations from family and friends or get referrals from government agencies, such as the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (www.jfs.ohio.gov), schools, physicians, churches or civic organizations.

- Call several parents whose children are enrolled with the child care providers you’re considering to discuss their likes or dislikes.

- Determine the type of child care which fits your needs. Do you need full-time or part-time care? Would you prefer a private sitter or a public daycare center? Also, consider your budget, financial assistance, location and the curriculum.

- Visit several facilities when children are present to see how staff interact with children.

- Make sure the facility is clean and there is adequate room for children to play.

- Find out what the discipline and sick procedures are.

- Ask about the child to caregiver ratio, how staff is selected and screened and what their credentials are.

- Make sure the facility is licensed, carries appropriate insurance and meets local and state requirements.

- Have your child spend part of the day in the facility and discuss his or her experience with your child and the caregiver.

Always contact the BBB for a list of BBB Accredited child care centers and reviews on ones you’re considering. Visit www.bbb.org or call 937-222-5825 or 800-776-5301.