Tips for Parents Choosing Childcare
Determine basic child care needs of the family
- What location is convenient?
- What type of program (child care center, family day care home, etc.) will best meet the needs of your child?
- What days and hours of care are needed?
- How much can you afford to spend on child care?
How to Find Licensed Child Care in Your Area
You may want to review the licensing files of Several Child Care Facilities
- Licensing files contain valuable information that can help you make your selection. Every licensed child care facility in Colorado has a licensing file at the Division of Child Care. This file contains the facility’s licensing history, the number of children allowed to be cared for, information on past complaints and inspections, and any restrictions to the license.
- Please visit the online Colorado Child Care Facility Search to review the license summaries for child care providers in your area.
- If you would like to review the provider file at the Division of Child Care, please call (303) 866-5958 or 1-800-799-5876 to schedule an appointment.
Visit a number of facilities; observe and ask questions about the following:
Determine the program’s status
- Is the child care facility providing care for more than one unrelated family’s children? If so, it should be licensed.
- When was the last time the facility was visited by a child care licensing inspector? Ask to see the facility’s latest inspection report. What types of licensing violations were identified?
- Have complaints been filed against the facility? If so, what were the complaints and how were they resolved?
- Ask to see a copy of the license and the most recent report of inspection.
- Ask for names and phone numbers of parents who have used this care in the past and others whose children are currently enrolled.
- Call them for their appraisal of the quality of care provided by the facility.
Observe and ask questions about the caregivers
- Do they appear to enjoy working with children?
- Do they smile, show affection, and appear to be patient?
- Do they treat each child with respect and, if the need arises, use positive, non-punitive forms of discipline?
- Are they trained in CPR, first-aid, and child development?
Observe and ask questions about the physical environment
- Is the indoor space clean, well lit, orderly, and appealing?
- Are there areas in the room that allow children to participate in quiet activities?
- Does the outdoor space offer a variety of play opportunities, and is it free of potential health and safety hazards?
- Is there a sufficient number of toys available that are in good repair and of interest to children?
- Are snacks and meals nutritious? Are menus posted?
- Does the program have a plan for handling emergencies, and are emergency phone numbers placed near the phone?
- Are parents permitted to visit the program at any time without prior notice?
Observe the children in care
- Do the children seem to be happy?
- Are they busily engaged in interesting and satisfying activities?
Once your child is in care, continue to monitor the facility
- Visit the facility at various times of the day. Some visits should be unannounced.
- Call or visit the caregiver whenever you have questions or concerns.
- Observe your child’s behavior before and after care. Talk with your child about the hours spent in care.
- If you have concerns about the facility that cannot be resolved comfortably with the director or caregiver, you may want to file a complaint with the Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Child Care. Call (303) 866-5958 or 1-800-799-5876.
- If you suspect that child abuse or neglect has occurred at the facility, contact your local department of social services or local law enforcement agency immediately.
Division of Child Care
Colorado Department of Human Services
1575 Sherman St., 1st Floor
Denver, CO 80203-1714
(303) 866-5958 or 1-800-799-5876