I am having my first child in December. I know it is a while off!!! Anyway, after maternity leave is up, I will go back to work full time (I can't afford no to). My husband also works full time. I was wondering how you research to find a good day care center. I don't want to just point one out of the yellow pages. Can I call DHS, or some other state department?
Hi, You are smart in starting to look for daycare, even this early. I would suggest you open your yellow pages and start at the top and visit every one of them. Dont limit one out because it's 5 miles out of the way because it may be the best. After you've spent the time with your baby then what you'll accept will be very limited and will never be the best option (best option being staying at home with you). We used Childcare network (all are independantly owned/operated) that looked like the best we could find, but after 3 months decided to change daycares. They ended up being really rude and worked when they were sick which ensured my son would always be sick since the nursery worker was the only person he was GUARANTEED to be in contact with every day. In the end, I didnt burn any bridges but just told them that I didnt feel comfortable with my son staying there and he wouldnt be back on Monday. We are now at a place that does about 5 times the kids, but he's only been sick once in 2 months, and the help has a much better attitude since they arent working sick. I figured that daycare was crowded for a reason and that's because everyone trusts them to take care of their child. If you dont see very many kids then be weary because there may be a reason they cant get business. In the end, it'll be the hardest choice and you'll try to talk yourself into not going back to work even if you have to live out of a cardboard box! lol... But we all get through it. My wife and I call it 'school' which does change our opinion a little and he has learned much more being around other kids. Good luck in your search.
I contacted the licensing agency -- all day cares in my area need to be licensed and/or registered with the county. They sent me a list of day care providers. I also checked with the City -- some city's require a special use permit for home based day cares, also the fire department because in my area, they conduct the fire inspections for all licensed day cares. Also talked to someone in the police department who was willing to give me the inside scoop.
We ended up choosing a day care center -- there are only three other babies in the infant room. Was more expensive, but I kept hearing horror stories from other parents about some home based day cares where the sitter would decide to take the day off and leave them in the lurch. One parent said their child spent most of the time in the car 'cuz the sitter was carting the kids around in the car to drop off older children at activities.