Seeking safe child care: tips for caregivers
Finding a safe place for your child to be looked after is a daunting task. With so many different facilities available, how can parents know for sure which location will be best for their child’s needs? Here are a few things to consider when looking for safe and quality child care, based on information provided by the Government of Alberta and the Childcare Resource and Research Unit.
Know your needs
Before looking at the quality of a location, parents should take time to consider needs that might limit their choices.
Taking these questions into consideration will help parents greatly narrow down their choices and bring them closer to finding a safe choice for their children.
You’ve got options
On top of knowing needs, it’s important for parents to know about the various different kinds of child care facilities available. Each offers slightly different hours, programming, and environments, so knowing which fits best with their needs, as well as the needs of their child, will further help parents find the best choice.
While public child care facilities must meet minimum standards set by the Government of Alberta in order to be licenced, a licence does not necessarily ensure high degrees of safety and quality. The safest and highest-quality facilities will go above and beyond the minimum requirements.
How can parents tell if a facility goes above and beyond? In Alberta, licenced child care facilities can apply for an Alberta Child Care Accreditation, which requires a facility to eclipse standard licence requirements. The accreditation is intended to indicate excellence, and as such can help parents narrow down their choices further.
Contact and visit potential providers
After narrowing down choices through looking at needs and facility options, parents should reach out and contact potential providers to set up a visit to the facility. In-person observation of the facility’s environment, programs, and caregivers will greatly help parents in determining if the facility is right for their child. Parents should also ask questions about the facility in order to get a deeper sense of what the facility, caregivers, and programs are like.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when observing:
Once parents have chosen a facility for their child, they should stay involved and inquire regularly about their child and the program. They should ask their child how they like the facility and continue to ask questions to facility staff. If any concerns arise, parents should act on them; it’s better to act and be safe than to not.
For more information, check out:
www.findingqualitychildcare.ca for detailed information on child care facilities, dos and don’ts, and more
The Government of Alberta Human Services Website, for the child care lookup tool, fee subsidy information, and other child care resources: http://www.humanservices.alberta.ca/family-community/child-care.html