Why should you care?
All of the rules and laws that are issued by ODJFS Childcare licensing in Ohio were created in order to make sure that your child(ren) are being taken care of and are safe. When you are looking for a childcare provider you should make sure that your provider is at least following safety standards.
Before starting don't forget to review...
- Review all licensing inspections. For licensed home providers you may have to contact your local ODJFS office to review any licensing reports. See reasons below for why you should pick a licensed child care center see below. To search for a licensed provider, sitter or center, visit: http://childcaresearch.ohio.gov
- Make sure you talk to your friends. Reviewing online ratings is one way to find out information but make sure you talk to your friends and neighbors so you know that the information you are receiving is correct.
- Schedule a tour for peak hours to meet all teachers and staff. Scheduling a first tour is a great way to receive the time and attention you will need to ask questions and receive a lot of information about the center.
- Visit again, without a scheduled tour, to see what the center is like when they are not prepared for a tour. This will give you a quick view of what the classrooms are like
Basic things to look for at a child care center
- Review their licensing reports online (use the link above) and make sure you ask questions about all serious-risk violations that are posted.
- Make sure the childcare center is keeping ratios correct by checking to make sure that 2 staff members are on duty at all times and that room sizes do not go above ratio (ratio charts should be posted near, or in, each classroom). Ask about ratio sizes! All childcare providers should know this information.
- Make sure that there are lesson plans that are current outside each room! Licensed centers must post and follow lesson plans. Ask to review these before having your child start. These lesson plans should be posted outside or inside of each classroom.
- Ask to sit in a room for a few minutes to make sure each child is being provided with appropriate care! This is a great thing to do during your second tour!
Family Child Care Type B
- Hope providers should not have more than 6 children at a time. This includes the providers own children under 6 years old. They should also never have more than 3 children under the age of two at a time.
- Ask about backup care, background checks, and curriculum/lesson plans.
- View all play spaces and bathrooms
- Ask about pets and visitors in the home.
Unlicensed Home Care
- These providers are not licensed by the state-so getting a background check or references from friends is important.
- These providers may never watch over 6 children at one time in the State of Ohio-if they are, they must be licensed.
- Ask about back up care and who else may be watching your child
- Make sure you ask about curriculum, schedule and tuition collection!
Why choose a licensed program?
- Providers receive regular checks through state agencies
- In a child care center there is always a back up person to keep an eye on things and help in case of emergencies.
- Providers are required to have training in basic health and safety skills as well as regular professional development training
- Monitoring of homes/centers are done to make sure that there are no safety risks.
- Providers must have regular activities for children that are developmentally appropriate, a safe environment, emergency procedures, curriculum and appropriate staffing for emergencies
- Unlicensed sitters are not background checked-you can look up local criminal records through your county and city public records. You may want to request an FBI and BCI II background check which will let you see if there are any state or federal offenses.
Who do you ask if you have questions?
- The best person to contact is your ODJFS licensing agency (found at the link above)
- Each county in Ohio has an organization that helps with childcare-In Union County, Ohio it is Action for Children. You can reach out to this organization for help
- World of Wonders will help families find the appropriate center that will meet their needs. If you would ever like to find out more information about WOW reach out to Lauren@wowchildcare.org for more information!