Choosing Care Checklist

This basic step-by-step guide outlines a path to successfully find a program for your child.

  1. Begin Your Search

    Use our free online search tool to choose from more than 12,000 licensed child care and early education programs in Minnesota. Personalized help is available by calling 888.291.9811 or by using the website’s chat feature.
  2. Reach Out

    After you have identified possible programs, call to check for openings and find out if the cost and schedule will meet your needs. This is a great opportunity to introduce yourself and ask questions, especially if your child has specific needs.
  3. Check References and Records

    Request references from families who currently use the program or who have used the program in the recent past. A clean health and safety record is also important. Use the state’s licensing look-up to verify the program is licensed or certified and check for any past or current health and safety violations and corrections orders.
  4. Visit Programs

    You may want to first schedule a tour and then make a second visit to introduce your child and see how they interact with the caregiver and other children. Our helpful guide, Finding Child Care: A Guide for Families, offers questions to ask and things to look for as you visit and compare child care programs.
  5. Make Your Choice

    Be sure to confirm your start date with your chosen program and complete any requested paperwork.
  6. Help Your Child with the Transition

    Ask the program about steps they would recommend for your child or use the Transition Checklist for ideas.
  7. Stay Involved

    You are the best judge of whether a program is working for your child. As children grow, their needs change. Programs may also change over time. This is why it’s important to evaluate your choice of care regularly. Here are some tips for Staying Involved after you’ve selected a program for your child.

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