Choosing Safe, Quality Child Care

By: Katie Stukey
By: Katie Stukey
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With a verdict expected soon in the fatal child abuse case against Sarah Cullen, we want to revisit some of the best tools for finding safe, reliable, and quality care for children.

Heartland Family Service says child care providers should be intent on making sure your children are happy and healthy. They suggest checking these 6 things before deciding on a provider:

-Discipline plan
-Education outline
-Nutritious meals
-Gut instincts

"If your gut is telling you that something is amiss, there is something amiss," North Omaha Services Program Director Tammy Green tells us.

In-home nannies do not require a license, but a thorough background check should still be completed. "They should always have references," Green says. "Make sure you check those references. Don't just assume because they gave you a list that said they were great. Check those references, also check with previous employers."

Green says there's no such thing as asking too many questions when choosing who will care for your children. Ask for detailed descriptions of their training. Find out if they're affiliated with any organizations. Know how they approach discipline. Ask what curriculum is in place for your child's development. Go over the menu to make sure your children will eat nutritious meals and snacks.

For individual providers, make sure you know where they will turn when times get tough. "Do they have backup?" Green asks. "What is their backup when they're sick? Do they have backup when they're stressed out?"

After doing a walk-through of a facility, look up the provider's license on the state's website. If the provider had any compliance issues at all, those should be listed.

Once children begin going to a new provider or a new nanny is hired, Green recommends regular "pop-ins". She says, "If in the afternoon your children tend to get a little cranky pop-in at that time, and see how the teachers are interacting with your kiddos."

While parents should always be diligent in checking out both the facility and the providers, Green says she feels good about changes happening within the system. "Our state is really starting to make some great strides in making sure there's quality care and rating a center or a home based on the principals of quality," Green tells WOWT.

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