Step 3: References and Background Checks
The more information you know about a program before you start the better. Checking with child care licensing and calling parent references can give you a clearer picture of the program's quality of care.
It's important to check a program's licensing status before you make a decision. You can find information online at http://licensinglookup.dhs.state.mn.us. You should also contact the licensing agency by phone.
For centers and preschool programs, call state licensing: 651-431-6500.
For family child care homes, contact the county licensing agency in which the child care professional lives:
- Anoka: 763-323-6102
- Carver: 952-361-1714
- Dakota: 952-891-7400
- Hennepin: 612-348-3883
- Ramsey: 651-266-3781
- Scott: 952-445-7751
- Washington: 651-430-6455
Questions to Ask the Licensor
- Have there been any complaints or negative action listed against the program? If yes, what was the nature of the complaint(s)?
- How long has the program been licensed?
- When were background checks done?
- Have the training requirements been completed?
- How many children can the program have in its care?
- Is there anything else you can tell me about this program?
Call Parent References
Another way to learn more about a program is to find out how the program is working for someone else. Ask the program you are considering for at least three parent references. Here is a way to start a conversation with a parent reference.
Introduce yourself: "My name is _____. I am considering _____for child care. She gave me your name as a reference. Would you have a few minutes to answer some questions?"
Suggestions for Questions:
- What do you like best about the program?
- What does your child like about going to this program?
- What concerns, if any, do you have about the program?
- How do you get information about your child's day?
- Have there been any unexpected policy changes (fees, hours, etc.)?
- Do you feel this program is reliable?
- What would you like to change about this program?
- Would you recommend this program?