In Quality Child Care

You have your list of providers that meet your initial child care search criteria - now what? The next step is to narrow your search to find the best fit for your family. Consider the following as you get to know each program more.

Quality Rating

Quality Rating – Indiana offers a voluntary quality rating and improvement system for child care providers called Paths to QUALITY™. Although all licensed child care programs are not required to participate, programs that do participate meet quality standards and may receive personal coaching.

Group Sizes and Ratios

These factors can affect the quality of care for children in relation to safety, attention given and daily adult interactions. Depending on the age and personality of your child, take a moment to understand which group size and ratio works best for you. Look for opportunities for your child to be independent, work together with caregivers and other children, and change activities throughout the day.

Health and Safety

Child care programs are more likely to protect children from harm and illness if they consistently practice standards such as frequently washing hands, disinfecting diaper changing stations, cleaning toys and properly storing cleaning supplies and other poisonous materials.


Generally, accredited programs are those that meet the highest standards of care and exceed licensing regulation. Once accreditation is achieved, the program will have a certificate.

Family Engagement

Quality programs work closely with parents to ensure they are informed about their child’s development and engaged fully as members of the program community. They often have an open-door policy, which means parents are free to come and go at any time. A program that provides written policies for parents and encourages parent involvement may be signs of quality family engagement.

Caregiver Education and Dedication

Longevity of teaching staff contributes to higher-quality care. It also shows a welcoming, supportive and positive environment, which may translate into better care for your child. The amount of education and continuing professional development a child care provider has is an important indicator of quality.

Inclusive Child Care Programs

‘Inclusive’ programs include children with and without disabilities as they take part in the same routines and play activities. Child care providers in inclusive programs learn to recognize each child’s strengths and needs. They creatively adapt routines and activities so that each child can be successful. For more information about how Child Care Answers supports families of children with special needs, see our Children with Special Needs page.

Download our child care program checklist

Tours During a Pandemic

With the added safety concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many things to consider when choosing the right child care for you.