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All the comforts of home

They are your precious cargo … you guide them, shelter them, protect them, and take care of them. They are your children. You only want what’s best for them each and every day. My guess is that, when it comes to child care, you want someone to give your child the same love and attention that you do. If you strive for a clean, healthy atmosphere at home, then your child care environments should be no different.

Parents have different options when looking for or needing child care. Many choose home based child care or child care centers, for a variety reasons. I highly encourage you to research the places you are considering when you begin your search. Here are some helpful tips.

First and foremost — look to your Region 4 Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) for an updated list of child care providers. They can provide you with a customized list of available providers that best meet your needs. CCR&R and can do it for you … for FREE!

Secondly, interview all home providers or child care centers before making a decision. There are three simple questions you should ask. (1) Are you registered with the Department of Human Services? WHY: Registered providers go through background checks and meet several different criteria to ensure safety while children are present. It also means that your child care provider has been properly trained in First Aid/CPR, and mandatory abuse reporter. The registration certificate should be posted, so make sure it up-to-date. (2) Do you participate in the food program? WHY: Providers under the food program ensure children receive the appropriate amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, vegetables and fruits per day. It ensures your children are eating healthy meals. (3) Are you QRS rated or ChildNet certified? WHY: QRS stands for Quality Rating Scale, which demonstrates that a provider has gone above and beyond to ensure their child care environment is the best that it can be.  A program that participates increased measures in place for health and safety, medication management, and food and nutrition for the child care environment, and that’s just to name a few. Lastly, a home provider that is ChildNet certified understands that providing child care is owning a business that has appropriate contracts, policies, and communication strategies in place. Take a set of questions (in addition to the three above) with you. These can include: How many children are currently in your care? What is your method for discipline? What supplies are provided?

Finally, for a comprehensive guide for finding child care, visit: www.iowaccrr.org, and select “Choosing Quality Child Care Booklet.”

Remember to trust your instincts and observe the child care setting. Take note of the surroundings, interactions, behaviors of children and the environment in general.  You will know when it is the right fit!

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Carrie Kube is a director for Iowa River Valley Early Childhood Area Board. All thoughts and opinions expressed are that of the author and not the board and/or its community partners.