TIPS: Finding the right child care provider

Summer is almost here and that means more parents will be sending their children to summer camps, day care or other activities.

Picking the right child care provider can be a difficult process. After you narrow down the options, doing research and asking the right questions are important steps toward finding the right one.

Here are some tips and resources to help get you started.

Camps

Depending on what your child’s interests are, you could have a lot of options for summer camp.

The National Fatherhood Initiative has six tips for helping parents pick the best one for your child. 

  • Talk about expectations with your child
  • Decide if day or overnight camp is appropriate
  • Decide if you want to send them with friends or without friends
  • Consider the focus or theme of the camp
  • Research
  • Meet the camp staff

After you narrow it down, start your research and ask the staff some questions. They may differ, depending on if it is a day camp or an overnight camp.

National Fatherhood recommends several questions, including the following:

  • How is staff hired, screened and trained?
  • What is the camper to counselor ratio?
  • What is your return rate?
  • What happens if my child takes medication?
  • What are your safety and medical procedures?

Next up, do a background check on the camp. According to Parenting.com, state oversight can be spotty sometimes. They recommend asking camps if they are accredited by the American Camp Association. They review programs, facilities, staff and safety policies with on-site visits.

Day cares

Hundreds of Missouri day cares are unregulated, and Kansas and Missouri both received a “D” rating in 2013 for its regulations and supervision.

ChildCareAware.org will help you start your search. Their local agencies can provide a list of options in your area that meet your requirements.

They recommend five key points when considering a care provider:

  • Adult to child ratio
  • Group size
  • Caregiver qualifications
  • Turnover
  • Accreditation

In addition to sample questions for measuring the quality of care,  they also allow you to check daycare records in Missouri.

To check day care records in Kansas, click here.

Nannies

Parenting resource BabyCenter.com tells parents to be prepared for a long search until you find the right person. They recommend five steps for finding a good nanny:

  • Identify your priorities
  • Do your research
  • Interview
  • Check references
  • Do a trial run

They recommend you ask friends for referrals, look for nanny training programs, contact a local nanny placement agency or search online referral sites like 4nannies.com and enannysource.com.

Then you’ll want to make sure to do your research on the potential candidates.

Once they’ve passed the first round of the screening process, sit them down for an interview. BabyCenter.com has a sample list of questions to start the conversation.  

The site also recommends asking former employers about the nanny’s strengths and weaknesses and why the candidate is no longer employed with them.

Additional resources

Child Care Inspection Reports in Missouri

Child Care Inspection Reports in Kansas

Inexpensive Background CheckThis will give you an address, phone number and some criminal information. This is not as thorough as an FBI background check. There may be information missing or that you’ll want to verify from another source.

Check Federal Court Records  - You will need an account and password and it costs a few cents per page.

Missouri Court Records

Kansas District Court Records Search (Costs $1 per search)

Johnson County Court

Search jail or prison records:

Federal Prison

Kansas Department of Corrections

Missouri Department of Corrections

Clay County Jail

Jackson County Jail

Platte County Jail

Wyandotte County Jail

Johnson County Jail

Print this article Back to Top

Comments