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Childcare in the US
The US Child Care System
The US child care system offers a lot of different options to look after your little ones while you are at work. Parents who make use of the US child care system are those who are either career-oriented or who have to work in order to make a decent living. However, US child care can be very costly, so you should take time to consider whether you or your partner wants to stay at home or if the US child care system is an appropriate alternative for you.
There are different types of care available, allowing you to choose the best option for your family, so that you can rest assured that your child is in good hands while you are at work. The typical US daycare centers provide child care in bigger groups while other people prefer placing their children in a home environment. Whichever you choose, do enough research on the US child care system beforehand and find out which centers are licensed and which are not.
Unfortunately, US child care is not financed or provided for by the state. This is why it is cheaper for some parents to stay at home and care for their child rather than paying someone else for these services. Although the US child care system is expensive, some parents enjoy the advantages of placing their kid in child care and having enough time to go to work.
US daycare centers provide child care in small groups with well-trained employees. Here, your child should receive a pre-school education which can consist simply of playing with other children or singing songs; in other cases, though, the services offered can even pave the way for exclusive private schools.
Every daycare center has to be licensed by the state; however, the basic licensing requirements vary. Therefore, a license by itself is merely a guarantee that some minimum health and safety standards are being upheld. Nonetheless, a great number of parents choose daycare centers because they trust the staff to provide high-quality care and because they think it is important for their children to have contact with other children who are the same age.
If you want to place your little ones in a daycare center, make an appointment and talk to the employees there. Have a look at the facilities and services offered and try to find out how the employees treat the children. You can find checklists online which provide you with the most important questions to ask. In this way, you can make sure that you are choosing the best center and thus the best care for your child.
Family and In-Home Care Providers
Family and in-home care providers offer an alternative to daycare centers. Parents often choose them because they prefer to keep their children in a home environment in small groups under the supervision of only one caregiver.
Family care providers offer to care for children in their own home. The groups are usually kept very small; but if there are more than four children involved, the provider will be subject to state regulations and will face annual inspections by the state government. In addition to that, the state sets minimum standards in terms of health, safety and nutrition and requires all family care providers to present a criminal records check as well as child abuse and neglect clearance. These regulations help the state to make sure that your child is safe and sound during working hours.
In-home care providers, such as nannies or housekeepers, will take care of your child in your own home. Your child will remain in his or her usual, familiar environment and you may feel that you enjoy more control and greater flexibility that way. However, in-home care providers do not fall under any official regulation requirements unless they receive child-care subsidy payments.
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