What you need to know before choosing a safe child care arrangement

VICTORIA, Texas–The school year is coming to an end, and summer is right around the corner. For parents, choosing a child care provider can be a difficult decision. Parents and guardians have to consider safety, affordability and convenience from home, work and school. Better Business Bureau serving the Heart of Texas advises asking a lot of questions and doing some homework before settling on the arrangement that is best for you and your child.

In 2016, BBB received more than 700 complaints against child care centers nationwide. Many complaints alleged unclean environments, issues with billing and refunds and problems with how the children were treated.

Whether you decide to go with a day care center, someone who provides day care services at their home or an in-home provider like a babysitter or nanny, it’s important to check licenses, certifications and make sure background checks are in order.

Before you settle on a child care situation, BBB recommends that you:

Do your research. Whether you’re looking for a day care center, in-home child care or a nanny service, do your research and visit bbb.org to find Business Profiles on different companies. Check that the day care is licensed and registered with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. This state department will also show the results of previous inspections of the facility. Also, get recommendations from friends or families in your neighborhood. Tour the facility. It should be clean, toys and equipment should be in good condition, and it should feel age-appropriate for your child. Make sure the bathroom facilities are age-appropriate and that hand-washing stations are accessible for small children. Also, food prep and serving areas should be separate and well-marked. Ask about employees. Ask if background checks are conducted on all employees and volunteers. Make sure employees are CPR and First Aid certified. If it’s a home-based day care, ask for names of friends or family members that regularly visit the home when children are there. Find out about policies. Ask about day care rules and regulations. Get a copy of the payment policy (or contract) and schedule to make sure there aren’t additional fees or late penalties.