Caring for children is important, challenging work. The way a caregiver may approach your child may be different from the way you do. Keep your child’s well-being as your number one priority in any conflict resolution. Most important, consider the seriousness of the incident or issue. Use your instincts to decide how to approach the situation. If, at any time, you feel your child is being abused or neglected, immediately remove your child from the caregiver. Report your experience to licensing right away. Do not wait. Do not feel guilty. Your child’s safety is the most important thing in the world. Act on your instincts and do not look back.
If you’re faced with a situation or incident you don’t agree with but which did not harm your child physically or mentally, talk to your provider about it. Stop and think before you discuss this issue with your caregiver. Don’t jump to conclusions; make sure you have your facts right and ask questions to clarify any misunderstandings. Talk with your partner, a friend, family member, or child care resource and referral representative about your concern first. If your provider is a friend or family member, be especially sensitive to your personal relationship and try not to be angry when talking to one another.
Here are some tips to help address the problem:
- Talk to your provider. Ask to meet without children present.
- If a face-to-face meeting is not possible, then talk on the telephone.
- Explain your concern. Be as specific as you can.
- Refer to the child care policies or contract, if necessary.
- Once you’ve had your opportunity to speak, then stop and listen to the provider.
- Try to understand her viewpoint. Ask yourself: Was this an isolated incident?
On the other hand, you may find that you and the provider have opposite ways of approaching a situation. The safety and best interest of your child should be your first priority. If, after talking to your provider about your concern, you’re not happy with her response, look for child care elsewhere.
There are 13 child care licensing offices throughout the state. Each office also has a child care advocate who can provide information about child care programs and the licensing process. Advocates are a great resource for answering questions and helping you choose quality care. Advocates may also help you if you run into problems with your child care provider. Call 1-916-229-4500 for more information on how to reach an advocate in your county.
Finding new child care
Here are tips for starting your child care search again:
- Make sure you have a clear picture of what you did and did not like about the care of the previous provider.
- Contact your local resource and referral program for help in finding and selecting your next child care provider.
- If possible, establish a trial period before formalizing your caregiver.
- Talk to your child about the transition.
- Trust your instincts.
- Apply what you have learned when you repeat the selection process.