Finding reliable and affordable child care is a concern for most families. Families need support and information to understand and navigate the world of child care and early education services. Research shows that high quality child care experiences support a child’s school readiness and future success. The following resources can help you evaluate the options and make the most informed choice possible.
Search online or speak with a child care specialist from Child Care Aware of Virginia. Get a free, individualized list of child care referrals in your area that meets your unique needs (such as location, hours, language spoken, ages of children, and other quality preferences). Note: listings are referrals, not recommendations. Also, ask other parents, your pediatrician, your religious community. Visit more than one provider if you can.
Choosing a high quality early childhood program is one of the most important decisions a family can make. Research shows that quality child care and early learning programs positively impact children’s development, resulting in more success in school and life. Young children’s brains are built from the bottom up, with early experiences setting the stage for all later development. Many of Virginia’s child care and early learning programs have shown their commitment to quality by joining Virginia Quality. Virginia Quality offers continuous quality improvement resources and support to participating child care centers, preschools, and family child care homes across Virginia. Virginia Quality also provides reliable and consistent information about early care and education options so that families can select programs according to their values and priorities. Please visit www.virginiaquality.com to learn more about Virginia Quality Standards and to find out which programs in your area participate in this quality improvement initiative.
Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) has an extensive Resource Guide for Choosing Quality Child Care that includes information about the different types of child care available, and how to interview and assess potential providers.
The ReadyKids Growing Minds Program provides workshops for families on Choosing Quality Child Care. Call Gail Esterman Growing Minds Program Manager, 434-296-4118, x228 for more information.
The VDSS website allows you to search for regulated child care providers by county. The listing includes facility inspection reports by the licensing agency. Please educate yourself about provider qualifications. Child Care Aware of Virginia has valuable information for families about child care quality.
Click here for information about Virginia’s Child Care Subsidy Program. Families can also contact their local Department of Social Services office to learn about eligibility for child care subsidies. The United Way of Greater Charlottesville offers child care scholarships. Contact Barbara Hutchinson at United Way to learn more.