BBB offers advice for choosing a child care arrangement this summer - Laredo's Bargain Book: Consumer Alerts

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BBB offers advice for choosing a child care arrangement this summer

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Posted: Wednesday, May 18, 2016 9:44 am

The school year is coming to an end, and summer is right around the corner. For parents, choosing a child care situation can be a difficult decision. One has to consider safety, affordability and convenience to home, work and school. Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin advises asking a lot of questions and doing some homework before settling on the arrangement that is best for you and your child.

With more than 15,000 registered day care centers and home-based day cares in Texas, parents have a lot of options to choose from. In 2015, BBB received more than 800 complaints nationwide about child care facilities and providers, with most of the complaints focusing on contract issues, billing problems and service issues.

Whether you decide to go with a day care center, someone who provides day care services at their home or an in-home provider like a babysitter or nanny, it’s important to check licenses, certifications and make sure background checks are in order.

Before you settle on a child care situation, BBB recommends that you:

• Check out the business first. Whether you’re looking for a day care center, a home day care or a nanny service, visit for a company’s Business Review page. It may be a good idea to check with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the state agency in charge of licensing and registering child care facilities in the state, to check a day care’s license status. You can also see the results of previous inspections of the facility.

• Tour the facility. It should be clean, toys and equipment should be in good condition, and it should feel age-appropriate for your child. Make sure the bathroom facilities are age-appropriate and that hand-washing stations are accessible for small children. Food prep and serving areas should be separate and well-marked.

• Ask about employees. Ask if background checks are conducted on all employees and volunteers. Ask about employee turnover. High turnover of full-time staff is a red flag. Make sure employees are CPR and first-aid certified. If it’s a home-based day care, ask for names of friends or family members that regularly visit the home when children are there.

• Find out about policies. Ask what the facility’s policy is for punishment of misbehaving students. Punishments should be age-appropriate and non-corporal. Also, get a copy of the payment policy and schedule to make sure there are not additional fees or late penalties.

• Ask around. Get recommendations from parents in your neighborhood. When visiting a facility, ask parents of current students about their experiences there.

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