Making a Decision

Follow these steps when making a decision on where to send your child for care: 

Screen Preliminary Caregivers

If choosing licensed child care, you should contact Blue Earth County Human Services for public records of the provider. They County's records include any complaints and what was found during investigation, correction orders, and any type of negative action on the license or disqualification on anyone living or working in the household. Check if there were injuries leading to medical attention. 

For child care centers, visit the Minnesota Department of Human Services' Licensing Information Lookup

Set up an Interview

After selecting a few providers that meet your criteria, your next step is to set up interviews. During your first phone call with the provider, you will need to tell the person the age of your child, your schedule, and start date. You will want to ask about the following: 
  1. References
  2. Years of experience. For centers, ask how long they have been in business and how long the teaching staff have been with the program. 
  3. The ages and number of children they are currently caring for and how many children they intend to care for. For centers, you'll want to know the staff to child ratio and the maximum number of children that will be in each group. 
  4. Completed training. 
  5. Fees and hours of operation.
  6. Type of programs they offer. 
  7. Personal concerns such as pets, smoking, special needs or dietary requirements. 
If you are satisfied with the phone interview, schedule a face-to-face interview to discuss the program and any concerns you have regarding your child's care. 

Read a list of possible interview questions. 

Visit a Provider at Work

After interviewing, you may schedule a visit where you can view the caregiver and children interacting. You should schedule a visit during the times the child care is normally operating. You will want to pay attention to the: 
  • Interaction between caregiver and children
  • Resolution of conflicts
  • Organization during activities and meals
  • Safety procedures
  • Cleanliness of the facility 

Get your Child Acclimated

Once your choice for provider has been made, you should schedule a time for your child to be at the setting for a short period of time to see how they will handle this new experience. You should plan to spend some time during these trial periods, so you can further observe how the caregiver will handle things. If during this time, you observe anything that makes you feel uneasy, you should talk to the provider to see if any changes can be made. If you feel uneasy, you may want to reconsider your arrangement.