Now that you have made your decision:

Once you have decided on a child care arrangement, be clear about what the service provides and what your responsibilites are. Misunderstandings can be prevented through good communication from the very start.

In the case of day care centers, be sure to read all materials and the contract the center requires. Ask about things you don't quite understand. Ask before you sign anything! Request a copy of a signed contract.

With family day care, both parent and provider should sign an agreement that states responsibilities, policies and terms of payments. This is usually referred to as a parent/provider agreement. If the family day care provider does not have one, suggest that you sit down and write one together. Again, having things clearly spelled out can prevent some unpleasant misunderstandings in the future. Once you sign an agreement, request and keep a copy for yourself.

In preparing an agreement for an in-home provider, you will want to go into more detail. This is your opportunity to state clearly what is and is not allowed in your home.

Below is a sample list of issues that you may want to address in your agreement.

  • Days and hours provider is to work,
  • Terms of payment, including:
    • Amount to be paid
    • When payment is due
    • Whether paid by check or cash
    • Payment for overtime
    • Payment for additional duties
    • Payment for holiday, sick days, vacation
    • Social security, workers' compensation, disability insurance,
  • Rules concerning visitors, phone calls, television, radio, etc.,
  • Instructions concerning eating and sleeping schedules,
  • Signed statement by the provider that he/she will not use alcohol or narcotics while caring for your children,
  • Amount of notice necessary to terminate agreement.