Child Care Resource & Referral Services for Families
We offer families and the community FREE child care referrals and information about child care programs in Middlesex and Somerset counties.
Several long term studies have shown that children who attended high quality child care programs score better on academic tests in school and have fewer reports of acting out behavior. These results continue into the child’s teenage years. Learn more about what to look for when trying to find quality child care by using the links below or contacting our staff.
Choosing Quality Child Care
Quality child care is individual to each child and family. However, parents also have the opportunity to consider years of research in their child care decision. We have included some highlights in this pamphlet.
The physical environment is important to a child’s success; space should be adequate, divided into learning centers as well as quiet and reading spaces. Children should be able to move comfortably around in their space and toys and equipment should be durable, safe and age appropriate.
Health and Safety
Of primary importance to parents is their child’s health and safety. Child care programs should promote procedures that include hand washing and regular health exams of child and caregiver. Program policies should include: sick policy, emergency contacts, CPR and first aid training for staff, fire drills and daily sanitation. The entire environment should be child-proof, toys should be in good repair and sanitized daily. Equipment should be inspected regularly.
Children learn through everyday experiences. Activities should be varied and based on the age of the child. There should be a variety of materials available and caregivers should be flexible, creative and non-judgmental. Activities should include indoor/outdoor, noisy and quiet time. All activities should be driven by the needs of the child and not by the teacher.
A quality program includes parents as partners in the development of their child. A level of respect should be established between parent and caregiver where information is shared, standards are agreed upon and success is celebrated. Parents should treat their caregiver with respect, cooperation and consideration.
To provide quality care a caregiver should be committed to improving their skills through training. Staff stability also increases a child’s positive experiences in child care.
Finally, trust your instincts. You know your child and you know where they will be happiest. Ask a provider if they would allow you to bring you child to the program for a day and see how they fit in.
Choosing Child Care FAQ
It is important that the provider have knowledge of CPR and first aide and that they participate in early childhood education training through the CCRR, colleges courses or other community programs.
Consistency is very important to a child and they benefit from caregivers who have experience and stability.
Child care centers have set ratios for children to caregivers and Family Child Care Providers can care for no more than five children at one time.
The CCRR only refers to licensed child care centers and registered Family Child Care Providers. Accreditation is a voluntary process undertaken by providers to raise the quality of their program.
As long as you child is in care you should be welcome to drop-in unannounced at a child care program
Children should be treated as individuals; they should be talked to with respect and listened to with interest.
Children thrive on continuity, they learn through planned experiences and play is their job. Providers should have daily planned activities, free play, rest time and outdoor activities.
Materials and equipment should be within reach of children, should be age-appropriate, should be safe and creative play should be encouraged.
Health and safety procedures are an important part of a child care program. A child care program should be able to tell parents what their policies are concerning health and safety.
Ask you caregiver is they have written policies and procedures for issues like fire drills, contacting parents in an emergency, vacation, fees, etc.
A child care program or provider should be able to provide you with personal or professional references and you should contact these references.
Our on-line referral service is available 24/7 for your convenience. A Child Care Specialist can be reached between 9AM and 4:30 PM in our Somerville or Perth Amboy offices.
This is a free service for anyone seeking child care in Somerset or Middlesex counties.
You can access a list of other child care resources and referral services in the State or contact Child Care Aware for CCR&R services throughout the country. For a listing of all of the child care resource and referrals in the state of NJ please visit here.
The questions we ask while helping you to find child care will only be used to assist you and gather statistics. No one else will have access to your private data at any time.