Researching for a day care or child care facility for a child can be more difficult that one might expect. In fact, the whole researching process can be very time-consuming and frustrating. Parents may utilize resources such as Internet ads (i.e., advertisements on Craigslist), references from friends, or their own instincts. Other resources including state inspections, quality-rating programs, and referral services do exist but may be more difficult for parents to find or otherwise access. Although Florida does not have a mandatory quality-rating program, Jacksonville, Florida does have a rating program that parents can utilize to select a day care center. The name of the Jacksonville program is the Guiding Stars of Duval. Inspections for health and safety, not quality, are only required. Programs similar to that of Guiding Stars aid child care centers in improving the quality of care provided as well as act as a powerful tool in finding child care. Currently, about 149 centers in Jacksonville have received star ratings.
Below are some tips and concerns when searching for an appropriate and quality child care center:
Accessing Information. Parents should give themselves enough time to adequately research several different child care facilities. Also, parents should be aware of the different types of information that is available to them. State records are available on the Internet to show different violations committed by a center as well as changes in the center’s director or other employers. In fact, on the Department of Children and Families child care page there is a link provided where parents can access centers’ “inspection reports.”
Too young? The younger your child is the more expensive the child care costs. The reason being that infants and younger children require a smaller teacher-to-child ratio, thus making the cost of care more expensive. In fact, because of the excessive costs many centers have given up on infant rooms completely. One resource parents can use is the Early Learning Coalition of Duval. The Early Learning Coalition develops a network with other nonprofit agencies to get the word out about the existing child care centers that provide quality care to both children AND infants.
If you would like to read more see Tips for searching for child care centers in Jacksonville, Florida: What resources are available to searching parents?