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Steps to Finding the Best Child Care for Your Family
Finding the right child care for your family is a big decision! There is so much to consider; location, price, size, ages served, schedule, training of staff, cleanliness, materials, etc. Available below are some tools to help you choose.
Types of Care – Pros and Cons
There are pros and cons for each type of care. To help you decide what is important to you the following provides you with a comparison at a glance:
|wdt_ID||Feature||Child Care Centers||Family Child Care||In-Home Care|
|1||How children are grouped||Similar ages grouped together||Mixed ages||Individual or family group|
|2||Group size||Larger groups of children||Small groups of children||Individually sized group of children|
|3||Atmosphere||School-like atmosphere||Home-like atmosphere||At home|
|4||Teacher Training||Training required||Training required||No training or licensing required|
|5||Exposure to illness||Highest risk of exposure to illness||Less risk of exposure to illness||Lowest risk of exposure to illness|
|6||Opportunities for observation and monitoring||Most opportunity for public observation and monitoring||Less opportunity for public observation and monitoring||No opportunity for public observation and monitoring|
|7||Staffing||Multiple staff members to cover for illness and vacations||Limited staff members to cover illness and vacations||No backup staff to cover illness and vacations|
|8||Hours of operation||Operation hours are not flexible||More flexibility for individual schedules||Most flexibility for individual schedules|
|9||Potential for staff turnover||Highest potential staff turnover||Consistent primary caregivers||Consistent primary caregivers|
|10||Tax implications||Payments are tax deductible *||Payments are tax deductible *||Tax implications ^|
* If you use unlicensed care that should be licensed in Delaware, you cannot take it as a tax deduction. Please check with your tax expert to find out the details for your individual family.
^ There are tax implications both for the parent and the provider when using in-home care (care that takes place in the child’s home). Please check with your tax expert to find out the details for your individual family.
The Office of Child Care Licensing (OCCL) regularly visits child care providers to review that basic health and safety standards are being followed. These records are available to the public.
They can be found on each provider’s record by searching OCCL.
Also, you can return to the Home page and search “Looking in Delaware.”
Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)
Delaware Stars for Early Success Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) is a voluntary program used to measure, improve and communicate the level of quality in early care and education and school-age settings. Participating programs are awarded up to 5 Stars. (Currently on hold and being restructured).
What does the number of stars mean?
Ratings for Delaware Stars are based on classroom observations and proof that the program is meeting high-quality standards. Delaware Stars uses the Environment Rating Scales (ERS) as an observation tool that assigns a score based on a one-time observation. The four areas considered in the quality standards include;
The chart below compares the basic requirements for each star level.
|Star Level||Licensing Status||wdt_ID||Quality Improvement Plan||Quality Standard Points||Essential Standards||ERS Score|
|Starting with Stars (1)||Good Standing||1||Writing Initial Plan||NA||NA||NA|
|Star Level 2||Good Standing||2||Editing and Implementing Plan||NA||NA||NA|
|Star Level 3||Good Standing||3||Editing and Implementing Plan||40-59||NA||3.4|
|Star Level 4||Good Standing||4||Editing and Implementing Plan||60-79||Developmental Screenings, Formative Assessments, Curriculum Planning, Staff Training||4.4|
|Star Level 5||Good Standing||5||Implementing Plan||80-100||Developmental Screenings, Formative Assessments, Curriculum Planning, Staff Training||5.4|
Accreditation is another way a child care provider communicates the quality of their program. In order to become accredited by an agency child care providers are evaluated according to the agency’s set of rules. Some child care providers in Delaware are accredited by the following agencies. Visit their websites for more information on the rules and process for becoming accredited.