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Choosing Child Care

Choosing child care is important! You want to look for a program that is best suited for your child and a program where you feel comfortable placing your child. The provider should give your child individual caring attention.

 

Types of Child Care

Family Child Care Homes

Family Child Care homes are registered by the Erie County Department of Social Services. Family Child Care providers may care for up to  to 6 children dependent on the ages of the children. In addition, they may care for 2 school aged children.

 

Group Family Child Care Homes

Group Family Child Care providers may care for up to 10 to 12 children dependent on the ages of the children. An assistant to the provider must be present. In addition, they may care for 2 school aged children. They are licensed by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS).

 

Child Care Centers

Child Care Centers are programs licensed by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS). Children are grouped by age. There are group size limits and adult to child ratios which must be maintained.


School Age Child Care

These are programs licensed by the Erie County Department of Social Services. They provide care for children before/after school and during holidays and vacations. There are group size limits, age groupings and adult to child ratios which must be maintained.


Informal Care

Informal or Legally Exempt providers care for up to two children in a residence. This is unregulated care, not registered or licensed by Child Care Resource Network or the Office of Children and Family Services.  Providers who care for children receiving a child care subsidy from the Department of Social Services must meet basic health and safety regulations and are enrolled by Child Care Resource Network.

 

Private Child Care in Your Home

Private child care includes nannies, au pairs, and babysitters who come into your home to care for your child. This type of care is not regulated. For more information, contact us.

 

New York State Regulations:

New York State has regulations for child care programs to follow to help keep children healthy and safe.   

It is always best to gather all of the information that you can about a child care program that you are interested in. For specific information about a program and that programs compliance with the regulations, you can visit New York State Office of Children and Family Services and do a Facility Search.

You can also contact the local Western New York child care licensing office at:

New York State Office of Children and Family Services
Buffalo Regional Office
295 Main Street, Room 545
Buffalo, NY 14203
(716) 847-3828

Visit different programs before you make a final choice. It is important to spend time observing how the child care provider interacts with children and parents. Look to see if the child care provider has a positive relationship with children and if the child care provider is open to having you visit and participate in your child's care.

When visiting a child care program we recommend that you:

LOOK AND LISTEN

  • Is the atmosphere bright and cheerful?
  • Is the facility safe and clean indoors and outside?
  • Is there a fenced-in outdoor play area?
  • Are the children greeted upon arrival?
  • Do the adults interact with the children in a caring, positive manner?
  • Do the children seem happy and relaxed?
  • Are there separate areas for resting, quiet play and active play?
  • Are the activities appropriate for each age group?
  • Are there enough toys and are they within reach of the children?
  • How are behavior issues handled?
  • Are meals nutritious and appealing?
  • Do the staff and children wash their hands before eating and after diapering/toileting?

ASK

  • Do you have a written copy of your policies?
  • Do you have references?
  • Will I be able to visit unannounced at any time?
  • What are the qualifications of the staff?
  • What happens if my child becomes ill?
  • Will I have the opportunity to speak with staff on a daily basis?

The New York State Office of Children and Families Services has a free checklist that you can take with you when you visit different child care programs to help you find a high quality child care program for your child. They are available for different ages of children:

Child Care Resource Network does not recommend child care providers. Child Care Resource Network cannot be responsible for the quality of care. We urge you to personally visit the family child care providers and centers on this referral list. To search for child care online, click here.  For more information or to talk to a referral counselor, contact us.