In our new Child Care in Queens series, we’ll review the options parents have to help you find the right choice for your family. Research shows that quality child care prepares children for future success. If you work or simply need time for yourself, one of the most important decisions you will make is where to leave your little one. The decision ranks with choosing a partner, buying a home, etc. You could argue that it’s much more important.
So what’s out there? This week, we’ll take a look at daycare.
Group Child Care/ Day Care Centers
Group child care is provided at a center and can include kids until 6 years old. They are allowed to have more than 3 children. This type of center can feel the most like school and is highly regulated.
According to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, workers at these programs must have a degree in early child hood education or a related major. If not, they must meet a minimum requirement of child care training. This means kiddo will have access to well-educated people.
These centers cater to working parents but can be very strict about pick up and drop off times. Some charge extra fees for early drop off and early pick up. Working parents may consider choosing a day care close to work rather than close to home in order to accommodate time constraints.
Family Day Care
This care is provided in a home and can include children between 6 week and 12 years old. In order to qualify as a family
day care, the program must have between 3 and 8 children. The provider must have at least 2 years experience caring for children under 6 years old or one year of experience plus 6 hours of training in early childhood development.
Group family daycare differs only in that the provider can care for 7 to 16 children. In this kind of care facility, there must be an assistant with the same qualifications. The maximum number of kids allowed in any family day care has to do with the number of infants in the program.
Mommies that choose family day care love the home feel of the center. This type of daycare is also slightly cheaper and more flexible about drop-off and pick up times. Family day care has fewer regulations which means there are more available spots and workers may have less education. The somewhat informal style of this program can leave you hanging. If your provider is sick, there may no one to back her up, especially since it is run out of private homes.
One agency that offers referrals to licensed family day cares is the Jewish Child Care Association. With offices throughout the city, the JCCA, not only offers the referral but offers wrap-around services such as professional development for the workers and social services for families. For more information about their services, call their Queens office at (718) 575-7040.
Head Start and Subsidized Child Care
The Head Start program provides free early childhood education and wrap-around social services for low-income families in the city. Head Start programs are usually registered as daycare centers. As part of the program, parents receive help with their job search and are able to participate in a number of adult education opportunities. In order to be eligible, families must meet financial eligibility requirements. There are about 40 Head Start Centers in Queens. See NYS requirements . To find a center in your neighborhood, call 311 or check out the directory online.
The city also provides subsidized child care for qualified families with children between two months and 12 years of age. Child care is provided through contracts with approved centers and private home childcare providers. To find out if you’re eligible, use the online wizard. To find an eligible provider in your neighborhood, see the directory. Call 311 for more info on applying.
If you’re interested in getting your little guy or gal socialized for school, daycare may be for you. This type of program is outside of the home and usually involves a large number of kids.
In New York City, the Bureau of Child Care of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene regulates public and private daycare providers. In fact, all licensed providers are required to post their license on the care facility wall. You can review the sites last inspection by visiting nyc.gov/health or by calling 311. Click here for a search engine of care providers licensed by the city. See the regulations that govern each type of child care provider here.
If you’re little guy is really little, you may have a hard time finding a spot in daycare. There are a lot of regulations limiting the number of infants at a daycare. The key: start looking early. A lot of mommies and daddies look during pregnancy for a spot.
Don’t forget! Wherever there are tiny hands and tiny snotty noses, there are tiny ugly germs. Junior will definitely be exposed to his share of yuckies. When you research daycares, don’t forget to look into their policy on sick kids.
By: Sandy Jimenez