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Parents  >  Considerations  >  When to Start Looking for Child Care

When to Start Looking for Child Care

Start looking for child care as far in advance as you can. No matter what type of care you are considering, finding the right program for your child can take some time.  Infant and toddler care can be especially difficult to find due to high demand and small group sizes. You may need to begin your search for infant care from the time you learn you are pregnant or scheduled for an adoption. Try to visit several programs 3 - 4 months before you will need the care. To find out about the availability of care in your area, call or email us.

 

Some child care centers may have waiting lists. You should put your name on the list as soon as you make your final decision.

 

Many family child care providers do not have waiting lists. They fill openings as they arise. Some of these providers will hold a spot for you child; others will not guarantee an opening. They prefer to fill an open slot as quickly as possible. Depending on availability, you might have to wait longer than you had planned, so having a back-up child care arrangement to cover you until a slot opens is important.

 

Here are some questions to consider and ask during your visit:

  • Does the program have a waiting list? Do you have to leave a deposit?
  • How many children are on the waiting list for your child’s age group?
  • Many centers have a sibling-preference policy. How many siblings are on the list, and how will this affect your chances of getting a slot?
  • How does the enrollment process work? Can your child start right away?
  • Is there an application fee for getting on the waiting list?
  • If you are considering a family child care home, will the provider keep in touch with you as openings occur?
No matter what type of care you are considering, finding the right program for your child can take some time.