- How do I begin my search for day care?
- I'm confused about the kinds of day care. Aren't they all day care centers?
- How can I get information about any of the day cares that are referred to me?
- How do I decide which day care is best for my child to attend?
- What if I choose a day care and find that there are things I don't like about it?
- Is there help to pay for the cost of child care in Dutchess and Putnam Counties?
There are several ways to find child care in your area. The Child Care Council of Dutchess and Putnam has a free referral service.
There are actually different kinds of regulated day care, called "modalities" of day care. For example, there are centers, which are generally larger and usually housed in a commercial building with many staff members. There are also day cares which are run out of a provider's home. Family day care has one provider for up to eight children, depending on the children's ages. Group family day care has one provider and one assistant and they can care for up to 16 children. These modalities care for children from six weeks of age to 12 years of age. School Age child care is for children who have reached school age, (including kindergartners) and can care for children up to age 18, if applicable. There are also nursery schools, summer recreation programs, and other unregulated care.
The Child Care Council of Dutchess and Putnam, Inc. collects important information from New York State Office of Children and Family Services when these providers are initially registered or licensed with the State of New York. We then contact the providers for additional information, for example what their hours are, how many openings they have, what shcool district they are in, etc. You could also use the New York State Office of Children and Family Services website to search for a complete history of the referrals we have given you.
Finding the right "fit" for you, your child and the day care can seem to be a daunting task. However, with some effort, this can be accomplished. A telephone call to the provider can help you to answer some basic question.
Do the hours match your needs?
What will the provider offer in the way of programs for your child?
Is the provider certified to give medication and is that something that your child needs?
Arrange with the provider to visit the day care. Always visit the day care during hours of operation.
Is the day care clean?
Is it welcoming?
Is the staff interacting with the children?
Are the children engaged in activities?
Do they seem happy?
These are just a few of the questions you should ask yourself as you tour the day care. Although deciding on day care can seem overwhelming, a good decision will help give you peace of mind.
Depending on the severity of the problems, there are steps you can take. If it a minor issue, speak to the provider to get it resolved. It could be as simple as a misunderstanding. If there is a problem where the safety of the children may be, or is compromised, or if you have any questions or concerns about day care, you can call New York State Office of Children and Family Services at 1-800-732-5207.
There may be financial help available for parents of young children. For more information, call the Referral Department at 845-473-4141, x221 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org