Making Your Decision
Once you have a list of providers that meet your initial child care search criteria, the next step is to narrow your search to find the best fit for your family. Additional research will help you determine which programs best meet your needs or if you might need to expand your search. We encourage you to follow the process below as you learn more and decide on a program. Click each item for a more detailed checklist, which has a useful list of questions to ask and key program elements to consider.
We encourage you to call each provider on your list. This will allow you to find the best match for your needs. When you first call, we recommend you verify the information you have for each provider. You can use this checklist to help guide you through the questions you should ask during the call.
Check Inspection Reports
Based on what you learned from the phone call, narrow your list based on your needs for child care. Then, check inspection reports for each of the programs still on your list. All regulated programs must follow specific rules set by the state of Indiana. Licensed Centers, Licensed Family Child Care Homes, and Unlicensed Registered Child Care Ministries have inspection and complaint information available online on Child Care Finder Indiana.
Visit Your Provider
Visit in person with those providers who continue to meet your criteria. Stay as long as you can - you may even choose to visit more than once. During your visit, ask questions or observe. You also can download our Provider Checklist below for full suggestions of what to look for based on these questions.
During your first visit, use your senses to help answer the questions below. The answer to all the questions should be yes.
Even if you feel you’ve found “the one” after your provider visits, it’s still important to call
Parents whose children are no longer enrolled can be especially useful, as they may be
more candid. Parents whose children are currently in the provider’s care can speak best to the
recent program strengths and challenges.
Ask for a number of names – six or seven is not too many. References may be difficult to reach, so
it’s best to have more names than you need. This also allows you to reach as many parents as you
need to feel comfortable, without needing to go back to the provider to ask for more names.
Listen to what is said and what isn’t said. Silence and hesitations can speak volumes. Ask follow-up
questions if a parent gives a confusing or disturbing answer.