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What Does Quality Child Care Look Like? 

Quality Child Care


Quality Child Care is a three legged stool balancing safety, social emotional development, and kindergarten readiness.


When you leave your child in someone else’s care, you want to know that the child will be safe.  Safety supports the child’s physical and emotional health, as well as protects them from sexual abuse.


You may have heard that “everything I needed to know, I learned in kindergarten”.  This refers to friendship skills, problem solving and emotion regulation that is necessary to function successfully throughout life.  But, actually, children need to learn these skills before entering kindergarten and they need to be intentionally taught.


Our public schools have high expectations about what children should know by the time they complete kindergarten.  If a child enters kindergarten with pre-emergent literacy skills and basic numeracy concepts, he will be more likely to complete a successful kindergarten year.  A quality preschool experience should provide the children’s young curious minds with opportunities to learn these basis concepts by experiencing them in the environment rather than through rote memorization.


A quality early learning program will exemplify The Kansas Early Learning Standards that illustrate that “during the early years, children acquire skills, knowledge and abilities in all developmental areas (e.g. social-emotions, physical, early literacy, mathematics, music) critical to future learning.



Contact the Lawrence/Douglas County Public Health Department at (785) 843-3060 about any situation which you feel threatens the safety or health of your child and which the caregiver has not corrected. This information will remain confidential.


Reports of Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of an Adult or Child may be made to the Kansas Protection Report Center online  (  or by calling 1-800-922-5330.  If there is an emergency situation, call your local law enforcement agency or 911.




Child Care Links


Child Care Referrals – Child Care Aware of Kansas

Child Care Licensing – Kansas Bureau of Family Health

Free developmental support services for children -- TinyK Early Intervention

Early Childhood Special Education

Support for families -- USD 497 Parents as TeachersHealthy Families Douglas County 

Political Advocacy for Children -- Kansas Action for Children



Questions to Ask When Choosing Child Care


About the facility


Is the license posted?

Is facility safe? Clean? Secure? Free of health hazards?

Is there adequate space for indoor & outdoor activities?

Is there a place for your child to nap? A quiet place?

Someplace to temporarily isolate a sick child?

Is the provider a participant in the Child and Adult Care Food Program?

Are meals and snacks served? What are they like?

Does each child have a place for personal belongings?

What are the fees & other costs? Can you afford them?

Are emergency numbers posted by the telephone?

Are electrical outlets covered with safety caps?

Are fire extinguishers/smoke alarms installed?

Are adults allowed to smoke around children? Smoking is prohibited inside a KS Daycare Home when children are present!

Are there pets and where are they kept?

Are there first aid supplies & manual within easy reach?

Do caregivers have first aid and CPR training?

Do children wash hands before eating & after toileting?

Is the provider willing to give you references?

About the Quality of Care:

Are caregivers knowledgeable in child development?

Is the caregiver able to supervise all children?

Who will be caring for your child?

Are the policies about nutrition, toileting, napping and discipline consistent with your own?

Do the children receive the kind of individual attention you would like for your child?

Do the caregivers relate to and converse with the children in a warm and understanding way?

Are caregivers patient & warm? Enjoy working with children?

How does the caregiver help the child adjust to the transition from home to the child care facility?

Are you allowed to visit the facility at any time?

Are your questions encouraged?

Does staff take time to talk with you about your child?

Do you know what the caregiver expects from you?

Are you comfortable with the caregiver?

About the Learning Opportunities:


Is there a variety of age-appropriate equipment?

Is there a daily plan of activities?

Do the activities challenge thinking, stimulate creativity, develop physical and social skills?

If there is a TV, how much time is spent watching it?What programs are featured?

Are the children treated with respect as individuals?

Are they encouraged to become independent?

Are your family’s cultural and religious values respected?

Parent Responsibilities


To thoroughly investigate your child care options

To drop in frequently to monitor the condition of the facility and the daily activities.

To set times for arrival and pickup of your child and to keep to this schedule. If you will be late, call and make necessary arrangements.

To provide telephone numbers for home, work, doctor, and other family member or neighbor.

To provide a list of names and telephone numbers of other people whom you authorize to pick up your child.

To provide instructions about medicines, special foods, special health needs.

To bring from home the belongings the caregiver requires you to provide.

To meet other parents whose children are cared for at the same facility so that you can talk about your child’s activities and the quality of care.

To encourage and attend parent meetings.

To talk with your child about what happens at child care and listen to what your child says.

Not sure what the difference is between Family Child Care and a Child Care Center?

Go to: State of Kansas Licensing Regulations for Child Care Centers & Homes


To check the status or compliance record of a child care facility, go to: Instructions for Submitting an Open Records Request


Contact the Lawrence/Douglas County Public Health Department at (785) 843-3060 about any situation which you feel threatens the safety or health of your child and which the caregiver has not corrected. This information will remain confidential.


Child Protection Complaint – Social & Rehabilitative Services (SRS) 832-3700.

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