Parents for Safe Child Care

Quality Checklist

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Caring for children, our most precious commodity is vital. Quality assumptions may be made about home and center facilities that may not be correct. Please refer to the following for some guidance and guidelines.

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First Steps - Criteria to Research & Selecting Child Care

Get referrals & references from friends, co-workers, ask what they like and don't like about the facility.

Review our Child Care Law page to become infomed of what you should expect in a child care facility.

In WA state, go to the Department of Early Learning site to obtain information about the child care facility, including verifying they have a license, age range, capacity, how long they've been in business, & if there are any violations.

Call one of the following numbers to procure the center or licensed family home compliance record:

• DEL Parent Hotline: 1-866-482-4325

• End Harm: 1-866-363-4276

• Consumer Product Hotline: 1-800-638-2772

• Or, Contact Parents for Safe Childcare at or 425-881-0224

General Impressions and Environment

Does the home and center appear to be clean and safe?

Does the caregiver engage the children in a positive way: cheerful, nurturing, encouraging?

Is there enough space for the children to enjoy activities both indoors and outdoors? NAEYC (National Association of Education of Young Children) recommends: For Indoor space a min. of 35sq ft., min of 75 sq. ft for outdoor space per child.

Questions to ask: Facility

What is the turnover rate of the staff? Will the same person take care of your child over a long period of time?

Does your provider carry liability insurance? (it is not required, but important)

Confirm that background checks with fingerprinting was conducted for each of the employees (note that fingerprinting of staff is NOT required, but as a parent, you should confirm that each employee has been cleared to help ensure a safe environment)

If the provider takes the kids in the car does s/he have proper seatbelts, seats, and insurance?

Are nutritious and age appropriate meals provided?

Does your provider allow you to make unannounced visits to observe your child? (if not then this might be a red flag/ concern). A good time for a surprise visit is mealtime to ensure the listed menu is actually being served.

Questions to ask: Training

Does your provider or teacher have any special early childhood development education/training?

• Each person caring for children should have early childhood development education or training. Note: Training/ Certification is required of bartenders, hair stylists, dog groomers

• Recommendation is: at least 40 hours of pre-service training (prior to working)

• WA State requirements are only that the Lead teacher has 6 months to obtain 20 hours of early childhood development education in year 1; 10 hours continuing education/year.

Is there a written daily program plan of developmentally appropriate activities to promote the children's intellectual, social, physical and emotional development?

Is your provider trained in first aid?

Questions to ask: Fun & learning Environment

Are appropriate books or toys easily accessible to kids? (Not just present to impress parents.)

Questions to ask & observe yourself: Health & Safety

Ensure that there is no smoking on site.

Is playground equipment in good repair? There shouldn't be any loose pieces or sharp edges.

Is there a fenced-in yard? Dogs should be kept away from the children.

Are electrical outlets properly covered?

Are fire extinguishers in a conspicuous location and have they been tested?

Ask to see The Fire Marshal's Inspection Report if it is not posted in a conspicuous location.

Are medicines and household cleaners stored out of reach of children?

Do children seem happily engaged, interacting, smiling, and laughing?

Is food stored in areas free from contamination and refrigerated when appropriate?

Does your provider keep a record of immunization for each child?

Center: Child to Caregiver Ratio

If the age of the children is: Then the staff to child ratio is: And the maximum group size is:
(a) One month, through 11 months (infant) 1:4 8
(b) Twelve months through 29 months (toddler) 1:7 14
(c) Thirty months through 5 years (preschooler) 1:10 20
(d) Five years through 12 years (school-age child) 1:15 30

Family Home: Child to Caregiver Ratio

(a) Licensee Birth - 11 2 6
(b) Licensee with one year experience 2 - 11 None 8
(c) Licensee with one year experience 5 - 11 None 10
(d) Licensee with one year of licensed child care experience plus - one staff person or volunteer Birth - 11 4 9
(e) Licensee with: two years' of licensed child care experience and one three credit early childhood education (ECE) course or 30 clock hours of ECE training 3 - 11 None 10
(f) Licensee with: two years' of licensed child care experience and one three credit ECE course of 30 clock hours of ECE training, one staff person or volunteer Birth - 11 4 12

** Make unannounced visits! ***

Many parents invest more time checking out the purchase of a High Definition plasma TV than where they place their most precious commodity.

You are your child's best advocate to ensure your children receive quality care.

Parents for Safe Child Care is a 501(c)(3) non-profit