WHAT TO LOOK FORIn Quality Child CareChild Care Answers serves as Central Indiana’s Child Care Resource & Referral agency, otherwise known as a CCR&R. CCR&Rs work to ensure that children receive the best care possible through a variety of activities.Quality RatingQuality 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 RatiosThese 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. AccreditationGenerally, 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. Caregiver Education and DedicationLongevity 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. Health and SafetyChild 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. Family EngagementQuality 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. 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.