Child Care Subsidy: Encouraging Clients to Choose Quality Child Care

EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT AND QUALITY CARE

  • Studies show that birth to age five is the most critical stage in a child’s growth and learning.
  • As much as 90% of the human brain develops in these early years.
  • Quality early learning experiences can build a foundation for success in school and later in life.
  • Research shows children living in poverty are less likely to be successful in school and less likely to be gainfully employed over their lifetimes.
  • Experiences in high quality child care settings can have especially profound impacts on low income children.

WHY CHOOSE QUALITY CHILD CARE?

  • Fewer behavior problems
  • Strengthened school readiness
  • Greater thinking skills
  • Better attention skills
  • Higher achievement scores
  • Enhanced academic performance
  • Better relationships with peers

ENCOURAGE YOUR CLIENTS TO BE INFORMED WHEN CHOOSING QUALITY CHILD CARE

Parents should:

  • Call the toll-free Statewide Child Care Resource and Referral hotline at 1-800-438-0008 for English or (405) 525-8783 for Spanish Callers.
  • Visit the DHS Child Care Locator where parents may view the monitoring visit history for each provider.
  • Call for a time to visit each facility.

When visiting a provider, encourage your clients to ask questions!

Group Size: How many children are in the group that my child will be in?
Caregiver Qualifications: Ask about the caregivers’ training and education. Caregivers with degrees and/or special training in working with children will be better able to help your child learn.

Turnover: How long have the current caregivers been there? Stability in caregivers may enhance the child’s development and sense of well-being.

Star Ratings: What is the provider’s star rating? All licensed homes and centers are rated from 1-3 stars. The higher the star level, the higher the quality of care.

STARS RATINGS & QUALITY CARE

One Star: These programs are licensed centers and homes that meet minimum requirements set by DHS.

One Star Plus: These programs meet additional quality criteria, which includes additional training, reading to children daily, parent involvement and program assessment.

Two Star: These programs meet the One Star Plus & additional quality criteria or are nationally accredited. These homes/centers offer providers/teachers who have formal education & additional training in child development. Their space is arranged for a variety of activities including block building, dramatic play, art, science, math, music/movement, and reading to children.

Three Star: These programs are nationally accredited in addition to meeting Two Star requirements.

Other high quality options for families not eligible for child care subsidy

PRE-KINDERGARTEN PROGRAMS:

  • for 4 year olds
  • follow a set of organization-created teaching standards in shaping curriculum and instructional activities/goals.
  • Free (through the public schools)
  • Universal in Oklahoma (but may fill up quickly depending on the school district)

HEAD START/EARLY HEAD START

  • The Head Start program (for three and four year olds) and Early Head Start program (birth to age three) promote school readiness for children in low-income families by providing comprehensive educational, health, nutritional, and social services
  • Both programs provide pre-literacy and literacy experiences in a multi-cultural environment
  • Family income must be at or below the US Poverty Income Guidelines
  • Funding is limited (may have waiting lists)

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