How to Pick Child Care

Español

Don't blindly pick a child care provider. Always use TxChildCareSearch.org to find state-regulated child care.

Texas Child Care Search is the state's database of regulated child care that helps you find child care in your area. It also puts each child care's records at your fingertips so you can compare how well they meet state standards.

Your choice of child care has a huge effect on your child. So, don’t be in the dark about child care. Get the facts before putting your child in someone else's hands.

  • Find the Right Fit for your Child
    Look for features that will help your child thrive. Consider the caregiver’s education, experience, and training, as well as the size of the group and setting.
  • Do your Homework
    Learn about licensed and registered child care at TxChildCareSearch.org. There you'll find the results of CCL inspections and details about the operation. Ask friends, family, and other parents if they can recommend a caregiver.
  • Check Them Out
    Once you have a short list, visit each child care center or home while children are there. Check out their activities, how the caregiver interacts with children, and how the children like it there. Take your child to visit the center or home to see how she or she likes it. Read the results of the last inspection at TxChildCareSearch.org to see if they comply with minimum standards.
  • Meet the caregiver or director.
    Discuss your concerns and make sure you are happy with their answers. Drop by later without an appointment for a second look.
  • Put yourself in your child's shoes.
    Would you like to spend your day at this child care operation? Does your child seem to like it?

What Should I ask When I Interview a Potential Caregiver?

  • May I see your state permit and your last inspection?
  • What experience and training do you have in caring for children?
  • How many children do you care for and how do you ensure that you meet all their needs?
  • May I see your operational policies so I can learn more about your services?
  • What's a typical day like for a child in your care?
  • How do you protect the health and safety of children in your care?
  • Do you know about and always use safe sleep practices with infants?
  • How do you discipline children?
  • How do you handle emergencies and under what circumstances will you contact me?
  • How will you discuss progress and concerns related to my child?

Stay Involved in Your Child’s Care

Once you pick a child care center or home, it's important to stay involved. That's the best way to make sure your child is happy, safe, learning and developing.

  • Keep talking with the caregiver
    Ask to see weekly activity plans and menus. Ask how your child is behaving, getting along with others, making progress, and adjusting the new environment.
  • Keep talking to your children
    Ask them how the day went, what they did, who they saw, or if anything special happened. If your child doesn’t want to go back – find out why and follow up with the caregiver.
  • Report your concerns
    Report anything that may affect your child’s health or safety as soon as possible.
    • Call the Texas Abuse Hotline (1-800-252-5400) is you suspect a child has been abused or neglected in a child care center or home. The hotline is open all day, every day of the year. For emergencies, call 9-1-1 or your local police. The law protects people who make a report in good faith from legal liability.
    • If you think that a child care center or home is operating without a state license or permit, you should report that to the hotline at 1-800-252-5400.

If you have more general concerns or questions, call your local Child Care Licensing office.