Ask the Right Questions

Every parent desires to support the well-being of their children. However, each day in Virginia, parents put their children at risk by unknowingly choosing unsafe child care. Often relying on child care referrals from friends and family, many parents don’t realize that unlicensed and unregistered child day care programs are not required to follow critical, life-saving health and safety requirements.

While there are many factors to consider when choosing the right child care program, there are critical details that can often mean the difference between life and death for infants and children. Child care homes and centers that are licensed by the Virginia Department of Education are required to have regular, unannounced inspections to ensure health and safety measures are in place. These measures include staff background checks, emergency plans, safe-sleep practices, appropriate CPR training, staff education, and so much more.

Take action to feel comfortable and confident with your choice of child care provider.

ASK potential providers these important health and safety questions:
  • Is this child care facility licensed? If not, what exemption are you operating under?
  • What are the qualifications and training requirements of your child care staff?
  • What are the health and safety practices?
  • Do all staff members complete background checks before working here?
  • Are first-aid and CPR-trained staff on location at all times?
  • What is the child-to-staff ratio at its maximum and minimum? How do you maintain this ratio to ensure my child will have a consistent caretaker?
  • How often are fire drills or evacuation procedures practiced?
  • How will a medical emergency be handled?
  • What would a typical day be like for my child?
  • Can I see the children’s sleep space and your practices for putting down a child to nap?
CONSIDER these questions both during and after your visit:
  • Were children happy and engaged?
  • Were staff patient and kind towards the children?
  • Did staff show interest in my child?
  • Will I trust this person with my child?
  • Will my child be comfortable here?
  • Will this program support my child’s learning and development?
  • Are there enough age-appropriate toys and materials?
  • Was the physical space safe, clean and organized?
  • Were dangerous or hazardous items locked and out of reach from children?
  • What do other parents say about the program?

The Journey to Choosing Quality Care

LEARN about child care programs in your community.

LOOK for licensed or Virginia Quality rated programs in your area.

CALL preferred child care programs to ask questions.

TALK to friends, neighbors and other parents for referrals.


VISIT your preferred programs with your child.

COMMIT to choosing quality child care!

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