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Making Your Choice Work

Care About Quality was published by the California Department of Education in 2000.

Once you are happy with your choice, there are some things you can do to help the child care arrangement work out well for everyone. Be sure that you and the caregiver agree upon: 


  • Pay on time and make sure you have the funds to cover your check.
  • Keep your side of the bargain since you are paying for a service just like any other agreement.


  • Agree on arrival and pickup times.
  • Be prompt and respect the provider's hours.
  • Be sure you know the overtime policy.
  • Remember, your child care provider’s job is an important and demanding profession. The provider often works for 11 or 12 hours a day.
  • Know the provider depends on you to be on time.
  • If you are going to be late, call.

Vacations and sick days

  • Make sure you notify your provider ahead of time when you will be taking vacation. Find out if there is a vacation credit available.
  • Let your provider know if your child is going to be out of child care for a day or more.
  • If you’re considering a family child care provider or an in-home provider, find out if there are back-up providers to call when the provider is sick or has a vacation scheduled, and get their names and phone numbers.


  • Talk to your provider about nutrition and the meals provided. Does your child have specific requests? Will she be required to eat everything offered?
  • What types of meals are provided, and are children included in mealtime setup and preparation?
  • Is a menu posted?
  • Ask if your provider is receiving a subsidy for children’s meals or knows about assistance she can receive from the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). Call 1-800-952-5609 if you would like to learn more about nutrition or to find out how you and your child care provider can participate in the program.


  • Is your provider letting you know about your child’s daily activities and progress? Problems? Friendships? Learning styles? Sleeping patterns? When and how will you be notified if your child has a problem?
  • Are you letting the provider know about changes that may affect your child in the child care setting?

Your Back-Up Plan

Care About Quality Table of Contents

Questions:   Early Education and Support Division | 916-322-6233
Last Reviewed: Thursday, November 12, 2015

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