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Locating and Choosing Child Care
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PATCH is Hawaii’s statewide child care resource and referral agency working to improve the quality and availability of child care in Hawaii. PATCH manages a database of child care providers and programs. The child care provider listing is constantly being updated in an effort to provide accurate timely information to families.
Our referral specialists are available to help with your questions and concerns such as:
Child Care Providers are licensed by the State Department of Human Services (DHS) and are not employees or subcontractors of PATCH. We make no warranties about the quality of child care they provide. We also strongly recommend that you carefully read the provider’s contract before signing it to avoid any future disputes or miscommunication.
As you begin your search for quality care, consider the following:
We welcome any questions you might have that will help you in this very important decision. Call your local PATCH office today!
Your child care choice is an important consumer decision. You need information to make a well-chosen option in child care. Read parenting publications and ask trusted friends and co-workers for references on child care providers and programs.
Interview a few caregivers over the phone. Ask about current vacancies, hours of operation, staff-to-child ratios, age range of children in care, fees and what they include, the learning opportunities offered, and whether the provider is a licensed child care provider.
Visit, observe and evaluate the providers you felt most comfortable with during the phone interview. Bring your child along to meet the provider and explore the home or site. Your child’s first impressions are just as important as yours. You should feel comfortable asking questions or raising concerns. Providers should be willing and eager to share all aspects of your child’s progress with you. You have the right to visit or call at any time during the program's operation.
Checklists for Choosing Child Care
There are two checklists to choose from. Pick the one that’s right for you. Take the checklists with you on visits.
Child Care Aware at http://childcareaware.org/en/tools/checklist.html
UH Center on the family at http://uhfamily.hawaii.edu/publications/ChildCare/ChildcareTextnCover.pdf
Review the information you were able to gather from visits to facilities, interviews, and reference checks. ALWAYS check references before making your decision. Remember - choosing a child care provider that’s right for you and your child can only be done by you. Do a “cost-benefit” analysis. A high fee doesn’t always mean excellent care, nor a low fee poor care. Keep looking until you find a match between money and quality.
Consider your overall impression of the quality of care your child will be able to receive. If needed, schedule additional visits or follow-up phone calls to get all the information you need to make a final choice.
Once you’ve decided, contact the program, to sign up your child. You probably will be asked to fill out paperwork and pay a deposit to save your child’s space. When you’ve determined your child’s “first day” you can start preparing him or her for the transition.
Keep in mind that once you and your child start with a provider, you should continually monitor you and your child’s satisfaction. If concerns arise, try to work with your provider. Although consistency and the bond that is developed with a provider is very important to young children, it is okay to change provider if needed.
If you are seeking immediate assistance, click here for an Online Child Care Referral or contact your local PATCH office.