Experienced staff at Family Connections offer personalized referrals to meet each family’s needs. Family Connections does not recommend specific providers because families know what care programs are the best fit for them. Your hunt for childcare begins with a conversation with your personal Family Connections childcare consultant who is knowledgeable about all aspects of your search and has information about what to look for and questions to ask as you begin your childcare search. Call Family Connections directly at (541) 917-4899.
Allow time to find a quality program. Talk to several providers and visit as many programs as you can. If possible, begin well ahead of time. It may take some time to find a program and provider you are satisfied with. Some providers keep a waiting list (go prepared with some slips of paper) with your name and phone number to leave with a provider you like. Knowing that your child is well cared for will be worth the effort and time you put into finding the right program for your child.
Consider the cost for childcare. How much will childcare cost? Keep in mind that the childcare program is the provider's business. Providers charge varying rates and have methods of preferred payment. Low income working families may be eligible for childcare subsidies. Check this site to see if you are eligible for a childcare subsidy. Student families may apply for childcare grants here.
Call the childcare providers. Begin each phone call by asking if it's a good time to talk. (If not, find out when is a better time to call back.) Discuss the following information including anything else that is important to you:
- Available openings
- Your scheduling needs
- Typical day routines
- Location of program
- Fees the provider charges
- Whether pets are present
If you like what you hear on the phone, arrange a time to visit the childcare site. Never rely on another person's opinion of a program without checking it out for yourself.
Visit childcare providers. Arrange at least one visit when children are present so you can observe the provider’s interactions with them. Some providers encourage bringing your own child along with the understanding that it is only a visit and no decision will be made at this point. Ask to meet any substitutes who will be present in the program during childcare hours.
- Over-all positive feeling
- Children appear happy and engaged in fun activities
- Provider is focused on children, is caring and energetic and affectionate with them
- Positive guidance is used
- Provider communicates effectively
- Environment is safe with space for various activities
- Television is not a major part of the program
- Provider is prepared for emergencies
Ask for references. When you find a provider that you like, ask for names and phone numbers of parents that you can call as references. Ask the parents about their children's experiences. If they had to choose another time, would they choose that provider again?
Make a decision. Weigh all of the information, trust your feelings, sort out what you feel strongly about and make a final decision. Where would your child be happiest? In which place were you most comfortable? Plan to do drop in visits.
If you don’t find a situation that is a good match for you, call Family Connections again and ask for more help, (541) 917-4899.