Choosing the right caregiver is one of the most important decisions that a family can make. Get as much information as you can to make sure the choice you make is the best one. Talk to friends, family members, and other parents with children in child care and get their opinions.
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Si no habla inglés o tiene una discapacidad, usted puede solicitar asistencia lingüística y/u otros servicios gratuitamente. Para recibir servicios de interpretación gratuitos, llame al 1 (866) 291-8931.
Finding Child Care
The Public Child Care Search, lists only providers certified or licensed. You can also view inspection reports, hours of operation and Kentucky All STARS level.
Choosing Quality Child Care
Some parents are not aware of the differences between regulated and non-regulated child care. Regulation by the Division of Regulated Child Care requires every person working with children to follow the minimum health and safety regulations to ensure the wellbeing of the children they care for. Requirements include background checks and ongoing professional development to enhance the consistent use of developmentally appropriate practice with the children in their programs.
Unregulated vs. Regulated Child Care
- Unregulated Child Care: People or programs who care for three or fewer children unrelated to them and cannot receive CCAP or participate in KY All STARS. These settings will not appear on the Public Child Care Search on kynect.
- Regulated Child Care: Child care providers who care for more than three children unrelated to them. The different types are listed below and are monitored by DRCC. DRCC ensures that all regulated child care providers provide a safe and healthy environment for the children in care.
Child Care Provider Types
- Licensed Provider Type I - A licensed type I child care facility is a facility that regularly provides child care services for four or more children in a non-residential setting or 13 or more children in a residential neighborhood.
- Licensed Provider Type II - A licensed type II child care facility is the primary physical location where child care is regularly provided for at least seven, but no more than 12, including no more than 12 children related to the licensee.
- Certified Family Child Care - Care provided in a caregiver's home for no more than six unrelated and no more than four related children at any time (total of 10 children).
- Registered Provider - Typically a family member, friend, or neighbor who cares for children in their own or the child's home. A registered early childhood provider may not care for more than three children unrelated to the caregiver or more than six children if they are a sibling group.
Background Check Requirements for Child Care Staff
Federal law requires all states to ensure that all staff in regulated child care programs pass state and federal criminal background checks. Required background checks play an essential role in ensuring your child is safe in a child care program. Child care programs must submit requests for background checks before the staff member is hired and then at least once every 5 years. The background check process ensures staff don’t have a history of convictions that could put your child’s health and safety at risk. For information about offenses that would prevent a person from being employed by a child care provider, please see Section 6 of 922 KAR 2:280.
What to look for in a child care center
When looking for the best caregiver for your family, visit and compare several facilities/providers. Here's a checklist of key recommendations:
- Observe the interaction between staff/provider and children.
- Find out what activities are available for the children.
- Ask questions and make sure your questions are answered to your satisfaction.
- Check for a current license or certificate and verify that current deficiencies are posted.
- Keep in mind:
- the child's age;
- the child's personality;
- the locations of the facility/provider compared to your home and workplace;
- facility/provider hours of operation and any fees charged.
- After your child is enrolled in a facility, drop in unannounced at various times of the day. If you see anything that makes you uneasy, talk to the caregiver or director about your concerns. Continue to make visits to check on things. Watch for recurring bumps or bruises or changes in your child's behavior. Talk to other parents when you pick up your child. Compare notes with them. Trust your instincts and look for another child care facility/provider, if necessary.
Use your five senses:
Sight: Do you see providers engaged with children? Do you see children actively playing with each other and the provider? Do you see any health and safety concerns? Do you see that there are enough materials for the children to play with?
Sound: Do you hear teachers speaking in warm, positive tones to the children? Do you hear providers using respectful language?
Taste: How does the food that is served to the children look in appearance and how does it taste?
Touch: Do you see physical affection between teachers and children, such as hugging, pats on the head, children sitting on provider’s laps or any other types of positive touch?
Smell: Is there a pleasant smell in the child care setting? Can you smell perfume, smoke or any other odor that might be unpleasant for your child?
Types of Curricula
One way for parents to decide on a child care program would be to find out more about the program's approach to teaching, referred to as curriculum.