• Education
  • Parenting
  • Safety

Tips to find affordable child care

  • Posted
Teacher and young students in classroom
To get started, call the Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County. The coalition can help narrow down your search based on your location or need, and it can determine if you're eligible for financial assistance or scholarship. Call 561-514-3300 or click here.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Visit and compare at least three child care settings. Make appointments and take your child with you if possible. Spend at least 30 to 60 minutes at each one.

BE A SMART SHOPPER

Look for a positive relationship between the caregivers and the children. Your relationship with the caregivers also should feel comfortable and trusting. The environment should be cheerful and, above all, safe. You want a program that fits your ideas about parenting and learning, as well as your child care needs. Caregivers should be caring, qualified and well-organized. Their license should be current, and the facility should provide written policies and procedures regarding illness, communicable diseases and other emergencies.

CONSIDER THE COST

Carefully weigh the pros and cons of each caregiver and facility that you visit. Decide which satisfies the greatest number of your priorities at a rate you can afford. Keep in mind that the highest cost doesn’t guarantee the best caregivers and facilities. Likewise, the least expensive rate does not mean poor caregivers and facilities.

LOOK FOR QUALITY

Environment: A place that is safe, clean and up-to-date on all its licenses. In other words, a place you feel comfortable bringing your child each day.

Staff-to-child ratio: A place where the teachers/caregivers are warm and loving and spend enough time with each child, which helps build self-esteem.

Parent involvement: A place that supports openness between parents and staff, and understands that families are their children’s first teachers.

Curriculum: A place where teachers/caregivers work from a proven, established educational plan that outlines clear goals and addresses the needs of each child so you know your child will be ready for kindergarten.

Child development: A place where children’s emotional, developmental, physical and educational needs are being tracked and met.

Teacher education and support: A place that encourages teachers/caregivers to improve their knowledge and skills and offers them a chance to advance.

DO SOME RESEARCH

The Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County licenses and inspects child care facilities. Once you've narrowed your choices, check with the health department to ensure the provider is in good standing.

LEARN ABOUT STRONG MINDS

Strong Minds is Palm Beach County's voluntary, quality rating improvement system for child care providers, funded by Children's Services Council. This is a national movement with more than 30 states implementing their own quality rating improvement systems so that more U.S. children enter kindergarten ready to learn.

Quality learning programs can make a big impact on children's lives by:

  • Improving children's learning and development
  • Encouraging strong adult-child relationships
  • Empowering families to become more involved in their child's learning

Children's Services Council provides additional money and training support to child care sites in its Strong Minds Network.

Click here for a list of Strong Minds providers.

SOURCES:

Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County
Florida Health Department in Palm Beach County
Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County

Back to listing

For a listing of all resources, click here.
Additional Resources
You May Also Enjoy
  • Preschool isn't too early for a parent-teacher conference

    Parent-teacher conferences may seem silly in preschool, but they're a great chance to hear how your child is performing in the classroom. It also creates an open line of communication in case of future problems, and allows you to share any concerns.

  • What to seek in quality child care

    Quality infant and toddler care, with low child-to-teacher ratios, is always the hardest type of child care to find. That means expectant parents should start looking before their baby is born. Here are some tips that can help from a local expert.

  • How do I ensure my child is ready for kindergarten?

    Turning 5 isn’t the only indicator your child is ready for school. Children grow and develop in different ways and on their own timelines. If you're wondering whether your child is ready, consider these factors . . .