Read This Before Selecting Child Care

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Family Child Care Home

  • Residential homes providing care for seven or fewer children (or 12 or fewer children for Large Family Child Care Homes).
  • Must be licensed through DHS. 
  • Parents often choose in-home care because they want to keep their children in a home-like environment and feel their children are healthier and more secure in a smaller group. 
  • In Oklahoma County, the average rate for family child care homes for ages 0 to just under 5 years is $124.18 per week.

For DHS-Child Welfare Services program supervisor Jennifer Brown, mom to 3-year-old Caroline, an in-home child care center provides the loving, family atmosphere she wanted for her daughter. Highly recommended to her by friends, the child care home provides fresh, home-cooked meals, lessons on numbers, letters and colors, plenty of outdoor playtime and life skills like helping clean up and forming long-term bonds.

“The caregivers get down on the kids’ level and really listen to what the kids are saying, which I know makes Caroline feel like what she has to say is important and she feels valued,” she said.

Brown recommends asking potential in-home centers their protocol if a caregiver is sick; in her case, she appreciates that two alternative caregivers are available when needed. She also recommends asking about turnover, of the children as well as the caregivers.

“I didn’t want a place where children didn’t stay long,” she said, “and my child would be forming a relationship with another child who would move.”

Erin Engelke works as a chief external relations officer and is mom to 9-year-old Gabriel, 7-year-old Ava and 4-year-old Elin. The ages of her children mean they employ a combination of child care options. Older children Gabriel and Ava attend an after-care program through their elementary school, while youngest daughter Elin attends the same in-home facility her siblings attended when they were younger. In the evenings and on weekends, Erin also relies upon the support of a “manny,” or male nanny.

“If we are going to be a two-parent working household, it is paramount that we feel confident and comfortable with where and who is caring for our children, and that they are being loved and nurtured just as we would love and nurture them,” she said.

Engelke and her husband chose an in-home provider because they wanted their children’s care to mirror what it would look like if they were home with them. They got recommendations from friends and online resources, and their biggest considerations were the comfort level of the individual caring for their children, the atmosphere of the facility, the location of the provider to their home and the cost of care. They paid careful attention to the location of sleeping quarters/cribs, the amount of space for play indoors and out, whether care included meals and snacks, and how many days the facilities were closed during the year.

She appreciates that her in-home provider knows her daughter’s likes and dislikes, can console her when she is upset, provides daily educational and development opportunities, reads books and encourages outdoor play. 

“With three children having gone through child care over the past 10 years, I can confidently say that there’s no perfect scenario,” Engelke said. “What’s most important is finding the scenario that works best for you and your family, but also allows your children to flourish and for you to accomplish what you need to professionally.”

Next page: real local moms weigh in about the pros and cons of a nanny service compared to a child care center or in-home care.

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