Choosing Quality Child Care

As a parent, no decision you make will be more important, or more difficult, than choosing a child care situation that best meets your family’s needs. We are committed to helping parents find answers to their questions regarding how to locate quality childcare and other early care and education concerns.
Begin by visiting several child care homes and centers. On each visit, think about your first impression and:
 
Look
  • Does the place look safe for your child?
  • Do the caregivers/teachers enjoy talking and playing with children?
  • Do they talk with each child at the child’s eye level?
  • Are there plenty of toys and learning materials within the child’s reach?
Listen
  • What does the child care setting sound like?
  • Do the children sound happy and involved?
  • What about the teacher’s voices?
  • Do they seem cheerful and patient?
  • A place that’s too quiet may mean not enough activity. A place that’s too noisy may mean there is a lack of control.
Count
  • Count the number of children in the group, then count the number of staff members caring for them. Obviously, the fewer the number of children to each adult, the more attention your child will receive. A small number of children per adult are most important for babies and younger children.
Consider Your Options

Your first question should be "What type of care best meets my child’s needs?"
Several types are available outside the home and each offers its own benefits:
  • Child Care Center: Care and educational activities offered to a group of children in a licensed, non-residential setting accommodating more than five children.
  • Family Child Care Home: Care and educational activities offered to a group of five children or less in the home of a person who provides the care and is licensed through the Palm Beach County Health Department.
  • School-Age Child Care: These are programs for children ages 5 through 12 covering before and after school time; some offer school holiday programs and other times when school is not in session. Again, these may be in schools, child care centers, family child care homes, youth organizations and religious organizations.
  • Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK): A high quality program with an early literacy focus. It is free for all children 4 years old on or before September 1st, who reside in Florida.
  • Play Groups: Play groups are part-week, part-day programs designed to give toddlers adn young preschool children an opportunity for socialization.  Programs may be offered by licensed child care centers, by church or temple groups, by local parks and recreation programs, or by parent groups.
  • Mom and Me Programs: Mom and Me programs are designed to bring parents and their infants or toddlers together.  Developmentally appropriate activities are offered to help parents learn more about child development in a social, supportive atmosphere.
  • Summer Camps: These day camps are offered in public and private schools, child care centers, family child care homes, religious organizations and youth organizations, and through the county and municipalities. Licensing is not required.
Many child care programs are subsidized with federal, state, or local funding. If you need help paying for child care, please call Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) at 211 (954-537-0211).