In Florida, parents should do their homework before selecting a day care center for their child. Furthermore, once the child is enrolled in the day care center, parents should continue to monitor the day care center, visit the day care center, and ask frequent questions about the facility and the child’s care and supervision. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a day care center:
1. Location. A location should be selected that is convenient to the parent’s work schedule or home. This should not be the only factor but a convenient location will allow a parent to visit the facility frequently and pick up the child in an expedited manner when there is an illness or an emergency.
2. Visit the Facility. Advertisements and websites typically put the day care center in the best light and use the most pleasant photos and descriptions regarding the day care center. It is best to visit the day care center to personally see the facility, meet the staff members, and see how the day care center supervises and educates the children enrolled in the facility.
3. Review the Policies and Procedures. While the presence or absence of policies and procedures should not be the only consideration, it makes sense to ask for a copy of the day care center’s policies and procedures. Then, review the policies and procedures with the administrator or owner to find out how the policies and procedures are monitored and followed during a typical day in the facility for the children. Typically, there are or should be policies and procedures as to staff to child ratios, supervision, hygiene, napping, nutrition, playgrounds, and discipline.
4. Review Licensure and Inspection Documents. The State of Florida Department of Children and Families is the government agency that licenses and regulations day care centers and child care centers in the State of Florida. The facility should have the license and inspection documents at the facility. A review of the license and inspection reports can give a parent insight into the operation and compliance of the child care facility.
5. Speak to Other Parents. Speaking to other parents can also provide information about the day care center. Most parents with children enrolled in the facility will probably give a good review of the facility; nevertheless, getting the viewpoint of other parents should provide information as to the strengths and weaknesses of the day care facility / child care facility.
6. Internet Research and Books on Day Care Centers. Parents can obtain a good bit of information regarding the day care center and child care online. One excellent resource is the Florida Department of Children and Families Website at Child Youth and Families – About Child Care. See also Florida Day Care Centers – Frequently Asked Questions – Wood, Atter & Wolf – Child Injury Attorneys.