You want to make a well informed decision when choosing care for your child. Choosing high quality child care is one of the most important decisions you will face.|
We can help….
Do you need referrals to licensed child care providers?
What are the different types of child care?
How will you select the right care for your child?
Do you need financial assistance from our subsidy program?
“The mission of Child Care networks is to ensure that safe, nurturing child care is available to every Chatham County child, regardless of circumstance.”
No Cost Referrals
We maintain a database with information about licensed child care programs in Chatham County. Anyone needing child care in Chatham County can contact us for a customized referral, at no cost.
After a 10 or 15 minute interview with one of our counselors, you’ll receive a list of child care providers tailored to your needs. Any information you give us is confidential and will help us better meet your needs. Our counselor will also tell you about the different types of child care available and help you evaluate your options.
We are here to help you find QUALITY care for your child.
Types of Child Care
There are several types of child care that may be available to you. Each type has advantages, depending on what you want for your child. We hope the following information will help you decide which type of child care will be right for your family.
Child Care Centers
Family Child Care Providers
Care Provided by Relatives
Child Care Centers
Child Care Centers care for children in groups. Centers are located in non-residential settings, including churches, houses, community centers and buildings designed especially for child care. A Child Care Center has a capacity of five or more children. The capacity is determined by the square footage of the facility, and building, fire and safety standards. The State of North Carolina requires centers to be licensed. Although licensing does not insure quality, it does set minimum standards for health, safety and caregiver training which centers must maintain. All staff must have a criminal records check.
Why do Parents Choose Child Care Centers?
Parents choose Child Care Centers because they believe that larger groups, multiple caregivers and state inspections make programs safer for their children and make the arrangement more dependable. Many parents believe that more staff, space, equipment, toys and organized activities can provide a better learning environment for their children.
Family Child Care Providers
Family Child Care Providers offer care for children in the provider's home. The State of North Carolina requires Family Child Care Homes to be licensed. Although licensing does not insure quality, it does set minimum standards for health, safety and caregiver training which providers must maintain. Providers must also have a criminal records check.
There are two types of Family Child Care in North Carolina:
Depending on the ages of the children, more than one caregiver may be required to be present in the home.
- Regular Family Child Care Homes may care for up to 8 children. No more than 5 of these children can be preschoolers.
- Large Family Child Care Homes, called Family Child Care Centers, may care for up to 15 children. The capacity is determined by the square footage of the primary space used by the children. There must be at least 25 square feet per child. If any preschool age child is present, the capacity is limited to 12. If all children are of school age, a Family Child Care Center may enroll up to 15.
Why do Parents Choose Family Child Care Providers?
Parents choose family child care because they want to keep their children in a home-like environment. They prefer to relate to only one or two caregivers and believe that children are healthier, happier and more secure in smaller groups.
Some parents like having all their children in the same group, or trust what they learned about the provider from friends. Sometimes they choose Family Child Care because they find it closer to home, less expensive or more flexible.
In-Home Caregivers provide care for children in the child's home. They may be live-in or live-out nannies or housekeepers. North Carolina does not regulate in-home caregivers or nanny-placement agencies. The family employs the caregiver, and the family has the responsibility to supervise the caregiver, meet wage and hour requirements and pay payroll taxes.
Why do Parents Choose In-Home Caregivers?
Parents choose in-home care because they believe their children will be safer and more secure in their own home. They believe that if they employ the caregiver to work in their home, they have more control over the kind of care their children will receive.
Some parents find in-home care to be a more convenient arrangement for the family and believe it provides more flexibility. If there are several children involved, they may find that in-home care is not significantly more expensive than other forms of care.
Care Provided by Relatives
Care Provided by Relatives may take place in the caregiver's home or in the child's home. The care is provided by a family member. Sometimes parents arrange to work different shifts, so that one parent is always available to care for the children. North Carolina does not regulate care provided by a relative of the child. The family has the responsibility to supervise the caregiver.
Why do Parents Choose Care by Relatives?
Parents who use this kind of care consider themselves lucky to have a relative care for their children. They believe that these caregivers will provide warmer, more loving care for the child, and that the child will be more secure.
Many parents believe that relatives will be more likely to share their values, and they feel more comfortable entrusting their children to them. Sometimes parents use this type of care because their schedules, budgets or transportation problems limit their other child care options. If you are thinking about care with a relative, friend, or babysitter, talk about what each of you expects from the arrangement. Be very clear from the beginning.
How will you select
the right care for your child?
If you are considering a child care provider, visit when the other children are there and be sure to take your child with you.
When you enter the caregiving area, look around and note how you feel. Does it feel safe and inviting? Is it clean? Are the toys and equipment in good shape?
Watch the interaction between the caregivers and the children. The caregiver should be warm and relaxed. They should make the children feel welcome. Does the caregiver smile a lot and seem to enjoy the children? The caregiver should talk and listen to the children, responding quickly to their cries, words, and behaviors. The caregiver should play with the children on their level (usually on the floor).
Also, watch the children. How do they interact with the caregiver and with the other children? Are the children happy, relaxed and having a good time?
Spend some time watching what goes on there and ask questions.
- Ask about adult to child ratio. Ask how many children there are for each adult. You want your child to get plenty of attention.
- Ask about group size. Be sure you know how many children are in the group. The smaller the group the better. Small groups tend to be calmer and safer.
- Ask about caregiver qualifications. What type of training and education do the teachers have?
- Ask about activities. There should be a balance of teacher lead activities and free play. Children need to be able to make choices and play freely without having to follow the teachers’ example all the time.
- Ask about parent involvement. Parents should be encouraged to visit anytime and take part in the activities.
The work isn’t over when you’ve decided on a child care provider. You must stay involved to ensure that your child is receiving the best care possible. You should visit whenever you can. Have regular meetings with the caregiver to make sure your child is happy and involved in the program. If you think there is a problem, let the caregiver know immediately.
Visiting and participating in events tell your child and your child’s caregiver that you think what your child is doing and learning is very important.