Ask for references
Always ask references, it shows the provider that you are thorough. Preferably you'll want the contact information of parents who have used the service in the past (or are still using it) so you can directly and privately talk to them. Also talk to friends, family members and ask around in your community to see what people think of your prospective childcare provider.
Tip: Even if someone has nothing but nice things to say about a daycare provider, ask them to name one flaw or one thing they would want the provider to improve!
Do a background check
You should investigate all the care givers and individuals that will be around your child. Most of the time you can use the childcare provider's license number to obtain additional information and see if the provider passed all the required inspections, if there was any abuse or serious health or safety violations reported in the last months / years, etc.
Tip: Most states / cities / counties have a hotline or website where you can obtain all the information related to a specific childcare license number.
Trust your judgment
Ultimately, the decision is yours and therefore you should always listen to your instincts; even if a childcare provider comes with a long list of references and many years of experience.
Tip: Do not hesitate to look for someone else if you do not feel comfortable with a provider or if there is "just this little something you can't put your finger on" that seems wrong.
Now that you're prepared, we wish you the best of luck in finding a great daycare provider in your neighborhood!
The Daycare Bear support team
2007 © DaycareBear - Last update 22/02/2007
(You are welcome to link to this article but reproduction is prohibited)