Family Day Care
Family day care is the most commonly used form of child care. This is because it is usually less expensive and more flexible than other forms of care. It offers a “family” environment in a home setting. Approximately half of the family day care providers in this country are women who have raised their own children and have found that caring for other people’s children is a gratifying way to make an income while at home. Many others who offer this service do so in order to stay home with their own children.
When assessing family day care, the initial step is to specifically define your needs. You should think about how old your child will be upon entering a provider’s program, how many hours per day and how many days per week you will need care, your preferred location for the provider’s home (close to home or close to work), and how much you can afford to pay per hour or per month for care. In addition, you should determine whether or not you would be willing to have a provider who smokes, has pets, or who would be transporting your child in his/her car. In order to learn more about a provider’s approach to education and child care, including his/her philosophy, you should spend time observing the provider working with the children in his/her care and ask questions both before and during your visit to a program.
When you are ready to find information about family day care providers in your preferred location, you can use the information available through a resource and referral office, such as the Office of Family Resources. You can also check public bulletin boards, such as those found in your local library or grocery store, or listings in your local newspaper, where many providers advertise. Another resource is the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) website.
Once you have obtained a list of providers, you are ready to begin contacting them to learn more about their program and philosophy. This will help you narrow down your list to only those providers who best match the needs and educational values of you and your family.
The state has specific licensing requirements that family day care providers must meet in order to be licensed to offer child care in their home. To read about the licensing requirements that the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) has set forth, please refer to their specific licensing requirements.
The Office of Family Resources can assist you in your child care search by referring you to family day care providers in the area of your choice. Please complete the Referral Service Statement Form and fax it to (617)353-2333. Someone from our office will then contact you to find our more information about your specific child care needs.