Questions to Ask a Potential Childcare Provider

Every parent wants the best possible care for his or her child. If your busy schedule means that you need to hire a childcare provider or choose a daycare center to look after your child part of the time, it is essential to do your due diligence. Knowing what questions to ask is a key part of choosing the right childcare provider for your child’s needs, safety and well-being.

Are You Licensed?

First and foremost, find a childcare provider that is properly licensed in the state of Kansas. Licensing is critical to ensuring that your child is being cared for in a safe environment. To obtain a license, an individual or organization must meet certain regulations, such as capacity limits, property preparations and background checks. Ask the childcare provider directly if he or she is licensed. If the answer is yes, ask for the license number and look it up to check if they have any violations.

Has the Staff Been Properly Vetted and Trained?

Anyone involved in childcare should have a background check completed. Background checks should include criminal record checks and child abuse and neglect registry checks. Ask the facility how long its staff members have been there and inquire about health and safety training, such as whether they are CPR and first-aid certified. 

Correctly trained staff members should be able to detect signs of a problem, such as neglect, abuse, unsafe sleep practices, dangerous environments, and illness or disease risks. They should also be adequately prepared in case of various emergencies.

What Is Your Discipline Policy?

Ask about the childcare provider’s policies and beliefs when it comes to discipline. For example, what is the provider’s response to a child who bites or hits? Look for a childcare provider who is firm, but fair, and who does not lose his or her temper. You will also want your opinions on child discipline to align with the provider. Ask about other policies and general childcare philosophies, as well, to make sure you are on the same page.

What Is the Caretaker-to-Child Ratio?

If you are interviewing daycare centers or facilities that take multiple children, ask about the caretaker-to-child ratio. Experts suggest around a 1:4 ratio for infants and 1:6 for preschoolers. You do not want to choose a provider that is understaffed, as this means staff members may be overworked, stressed and unable to adequately supervise children. Understaffed facilities can mean that children slip through the cracks and suffer from neglect.

Are You Able to Provide Regular Updates?

Do not be afraid to express your desires in terms of communication. Ask the individual or facility about their communication policies, such as how often they can provide updates. If something happens to your child, how soon will you be notified? Ask about drop-in and visitation policies, as well, to find out if a) you can visit your child while in care and b) what the provider is doing to protect children from strangers or unknown visitors.

Does the Facility Have Functioning Cameras?

Finally, ask questions that have to do with the safety of the facility. For example, ask if the facility has functioning cameras that could catch incidents on tape, such as acts of violence or child abuse. Find out what the childcare provider is doing to ensure a safe and secure experience for children, such as measures to childproof the building and keep kids from wandering off the premises.

If you suspect child abuse or neglect is occurring despite your best efforts to find the ideal childcare provider, call 911 to report your suspicions. Then, contact DRZ Law to discuss your legal rights as a parent in Kansas. Your family may be entitled to financial compensation.

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