How to Choose Quality Child Care in BC

Following these steps will help you choose quality care for your child:

Step 1. Understand the difference between types of care

Licensed child care programs provide care for three or more children. They must meet specific requirements for health and safety, staffing qualifications, space and equipment, staff to child ratio, and program standards. Licensed child care programs are monitored and inspected by regional health authority Community Care Facility Licensing programs.

Unlicensed (or licence-not-required) child care providers may care for only two children or a sibling group, not related to them, at any one time.  If they care for more than the allowed number of children outlined in the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, they may be operating illegally.

Step 2. Make a list of things you want from your child care provider

Make a list of the things you feel are important to you and your child – such as the hours and location of care, qualifications of care providers, and their approach to child care.

Step 3. Search for available child care spaces

Search for child care using the Child Care Map or access free referrals through your local Child Care Resource & Referral program

Step 4. Contact child care providers

Contact the child care programs you like and ask if there is space available, consider visiting the program to observe the setting and meet the care providers.

Use the checklists in the following guide to help choose the right child care provider:

Helping your child transition into a child care program

To help your child with a successful transition, talk to them about the new routine, program and care providers to help them feel comfortable:     

  • Explain what they’ll be doing.
  • Tell them who will drop them off and pick them up.
  • Arrange to visit the program with your child before it’s time to start – so that your child can get to know the place and the people there.

Care providers need to have important information about you and your child before your child starts, such as who can and can’t pick up the child, allergy/ medical information, your contact numbers and emergency contacts.

It is also important to share information about your child’s daily routines, likes and dislikes, sleeping and eating habits or any changes to the home routine – for example, tell them if your child had a restless night, isn’t feeling well or didn’t eat breakfast.