Signs of Quality In Family Child Care

The family child care home is currently licensed by the state indicating the program has been inspected and meets basic health and safety guidelines, approved number and ratio of children present, the provider has passed a criminal background records check, is CPR and first aid certified and has met current proof of training as required by Bright From the Start: Department of Early Care and Learning.

Indoor Space
A clean, safe environment, especially in napping, eating and toileting areas are in good repair and well ventilated. Equipment such as cribs, high chairs, infant seats, child sized tables and chairs are available. There is adequate space and enough toys for the number of children in care. The atmosphere is warm, supportive and children are never left unattended.

Materials Available
Toys appropriate for the ages served (infant, toddlers, preschoolers, school-age are available and within reach of the children. There should be a variety of toys and learning materials that your child will find interesting such as books, puzzles, blocks, pretend play clothes, art supplies, music and dance props, math and science materials, and for older children, sports equipment, games, and homework help resources.

Outdoor Space
There is an outdoor play area that is safe and well maintained for infant, toddlers,
and all ages of children with adequate space and enough toys, including small riding toys, slides, and climbing equipment for the number of children in care. Water and sand tables are possible additions for children to explore. Outside play areas shall be protected from traffic or other hazards by fencing or other barriers at least four feet in height and approved by child care licensing. The atmosphere is fun, warm, active and children are never left unattended.

Daily Routine
Children are happily involved in daily activities that includes active/quiet play, naps, nutritious snacks and meals and meets the individual needs of the children in care who receive individual attention. The plan for daily activities creates an environment that encourages a child’s learning and development. The provider offers activities which help childrenunderstand and respect people who are different from them. The provider responds promptly to the needs of the children and you will see the provider: holding, singing, talking to, reading to and interacting with responsive, nurturing and warm interactions with each and every child.

The provider is warm and friendly, enjoys children, sets limits gently and consistently, has an organized approach to the business side of a child care business with a contract agreement with parents about fees, schedules, sickness policies, emergencies, discipline, etc. The provider has an emergency plan that includes the preparation of a mobile emergency kit, practice of evacuation/fire drills, emergency supplies, and up-to-date emergency information. The provider encourages ongoing communication with parents about the childrens daily activities, or any concerns and invites parents to visit unannounced at any time.

For additional information see Child Care Aware ®:


Family Child Care Checklist

When you visit a family child care home, look for these signs of quality child care:

Name of provider

Basic Information
Is the program licensed?
Are the hours compatible with yours?
Is the weekly rate affordable?
Does the provider have written policies which address business and child caring practices?
Is the provider trained in CPR, first aid and early childhood education?

Health and Safety
Is the home secure?
Is the home well maintained?
Are there working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers?
Are electrical outlets covered?
Are there safe windows and gated stairs?
Are medicines and cleaning agents locked away?
Are emergency exits clear?
Does the provider have an emergency plan if a child is injured, sick, or lost?
Is there a plan to conduct monthly emergency/fire evacuation drills?
Are the kitchen and bathroom sanitary?
Is the play area clean and uncluttered?
Does the provider and children wash hands often, especially before eating and after using the bathroom or changing diapers?
Are children supervised at all times including naps?

Indoor Play Area
Are toys safe and appropriate for the ages of children served?
Are there spaces for quiet play, active play and for resting and is the space adequate for these activites?
Is there a variety of toys and materials available?
Can children be seen easily?
Are lighting, windows, and ventilation adequate?
Are bathrooms accessible?
Is there space for personal belongings?

Outdoor Play Area
Is it enclosed and secure?
Are climbers, swings, and slides safe and supervised?
Are there outdoor toys and equipment appropriate for the ages of children served?
Can children be seen easily?
Is it uncluttered so children can run?

Nap Area
Are there individual cots/mats and cribs?
Are cots/mats and cribs clean and in good order?
Are they in a quiet location that can be observed?

Child Care Providers
Do the children seem happy around the provider?
Is the provider positive and open?
Is the provider willing to talk to you?
Does the provider invite you to drop in?
Does the provider seem organized?
Does the provider seem genuinely to like children?

Working with Infants and Toddlers
Does the provider respond quickly to signs of unhappiness or distress?
Does the provider hold infants and toddlers often and in a caring way?
Are babies who are too young to hold their bottles fed in the arms of the provider?
Does the provider talk directly to the infants and toddlers, responding to their sounds and vocalizations?
Does the provider set limits gently and consistently?
Does the provider allow children to explore and give help when they need it?
Are babies allowed to nap when they are tired?
Does the provider practice safe diapering procedures? wash her hands after every diaper change and before feedings?

Is there a clear daily schedule?
Are activities varied and age-appropriate?
Does the provider serve nutritious meals and snacks?
Is there a program policy on discipline?