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Local Child Care

Choosing Child Care Homes and Centers: Your Choice - Your Responsibility

  1. Call for information - ask about:
    • Hours, days, fees
    • How many children and their ages
    • Staff experience, training, turnover
    • Transportation to school and activities
    • Meals and snacks
    • Whether unannounced visits are allowed
  2. Visit with your child – observe:
    • Are the children busy, happy, and interacting with adults?
    • Is the play area, bathroom and kitchen clean?
    • Are the toys clean, in good condition, and age appropriate?
    • How are problems handled (crying, fighting, shyness)
    • Look at the posted child care license and latest Report of Inspection
  3. Sit down and talk:
    • Are parents encouraged to visit and ask questions?
    • What is the child/staff ratio?
    • How are emergencies handled?
    • What is the discipline policy?
    • Review the current meals and snacks
    • Review the daily routine: activities – outdoor/indoor, quiet/active, group/alone, planned/free times
    • What are the sick and vacation policies?
    • What about medications?
    • What about naps?
    • Is a written agreement for parent/care giver responsibilities?
    • What is the first aid knowledge?
    • What about television viewing?
    • Are their any extra charges, and for what?
    • References
  4. After the visit ask yourself:
    • Would my child fit into this group?
    • Would my child's emotional, social and learning needs be recognized and developed here?
    • Am I satisfied that my child will be safe and comfortable in this setting?

Your responsibility continues:

  1. After your child is enrolled:
    • Visit at least every 3 months (unannounced)
    • Talk to your child every day regarding how things are
    • Watch for any changes in personality
    • Talk with other parents
    • Give no "blanket" permission for outings
    • Authorization: prohibit release of you child to those unauthorized
  2. If problems arise:
    • Talk with the director or care giver
    • Talk with other parents
  3. Danger Signals:
    • Listen to your child. If (s)he is constantly unhappy or withdrawn, something is wrong.
    • Bedwetting, nightmares, signs of violence, and expressing affection in unusual ways may also be danger signals.
    • Be cautious is the care givers sound angry or cross, or if they seem overwhelmed with their responsibilities.

A good facility can be wrong for a particular child. Your observations and your sense of instinct about how your child fits in are your best guides. Trust your feelings!

Checklist materials compiled by: Colorado Commission on Children and Their Families, Mile High United Way, Colorado Department of Human Services, El Paso County Department of Human Services

Licensing Requirements

Colorado law requires a child care license for anyone caring for more than one family of children on a regular basis. Providers in licensed child care homes have had 12 hours of pre-license training that includes child development, discipline, activities, safety, business matters, rules and regulations, health care practices, and child abuse/neglect. In addition, they have been trained in infant/child CPR and First Aid.

A child abuse registry check and background check (including fingerprinting), by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, have been completed on each person that is 18 years or older that works in the center or resides in the home.

Finally, each provider and member of the household has had a medical exam and each home has had a safety inspection. Smoking is not allowed in a home while children are present.

Day care centers and their personnel have additional requirements, including standards for group size, child to staff ratios, and staff qualifications. For more information about regulations see Colorado Division of Child Care Licensing and Colorado Rules for Child Care Facilities.

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