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Resources for Parents


How to Choose Quality Child Care

What characteristics should you look for in a Child Care Program?

Research shows children are more successful in school and throughout their lives when they have high quality early learning experiences. 
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests parents should talk to a potential child care provider about the following when choosing a program:

  • Determine the hours of the program; specifically hours during vacations and holidays.
  • Assess whether the program is licensed by the local municipality and registered with the state.
  • Discover the quality of the program. In Pennsylvania ask whether the provider is participating in Keystone Stars.
  • Evaluate whether a qualified health professional is accessible to the program.
  • Understand the visiting policy; particularly when parents can visit and how visitors enter the facility.
  • Examine education, experience and training of all child care staff to get details about staff credentials and their experience in early education.
  • Review whether there is adequate staffing for the program so that there are enough trained adults on site to supervise activities of the children at all times according to staffing ratios required by the state.
  • Learn all fees and costs of the program and any services and availability of payment plans.
  • Check policies of the program especially policies involving discipline and field trip travel.
  • Clarify back up plans to understand procedures if the facility is closed or if emergencies occur.
  • Ask for references about the provider from at least one current parent.
  • Acquire details about communication in the program.  Parents should ask how to communicate with staff if something personal must be discussed.
  • Establish if there is consistency in the program on things like meals, toilet training and other activities.
  • Inquire about health standards to learn whether a medical exam is necessary to enroll, if staff were required to have medical examinations to be hired and the details about child illness policies.


Keystone Stars

Keystone Stars is Pennsylvania’s quality rating system for child care programs.

Success By 6®:  Supporting Quality Child Care

United Way’s Success By 6® initiative supports quality child care by assisting Star 2 child care centers move to Star 3, high quality.  Success By 6 also helps to sustain quality care by continuing to provide resources to Star 3 and Star 4 centers involved the program.

*The Success By 6® Center Directory will be added to the site soon.

Child Care Works

Child Care Works assists low-income parents in Pennsylvania with child care costs.

School District of Philadelphia Pre-School Services

The School District of Philadelphia serves 9,500 through its preschool programs.

United Way's Education Agenda