Background check on Daycare facilities??

Question:Are there any websites or phone numbers for agencies that keep tabs on Daycare facilities, even home daycare? I am looking for places in my area (near chicago, IL) and want to check and make sure that there havent been any major problems/complaints that they wont tell me about. Is there any way to do like a background check on these Daycare places? Links to websites (in this case) would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much!

The easiest way to check on a daycare facility (that is licensed by the state) is to contact Community Care Licensing (sometimes under your state's Department of Social Services website). Licensing not only gives out the licenses to centers/home providers, but tracks any and all complaints, severe incidents, and reprimands the center has had. Some centers (often major chain ones) also register with the Better Business Bureau (, so you can check them out there. Centers that have received a state license have had to at least meet minimal standards of care. That is not to say that they are the best, but generally better than those that have not become licensed. To me, it also shows that the center/home provider cared enough to go through the process. The highest standards are set by the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children). You can do a search for accredited centers/home cares on their website ( A center that has been accredited by the NAEYC has met strict, high standards, and only a small percentage of preschools/daycares meet this requirement. It is definitely an indicator of high-quality care. If you can get into one of these, it would be best (and probaby pricier, since they pay their highly trained staff well). Another good choice is a center run by a community college near you. They often use their centers as training schools, so you have the added benefit of a low staff-to-child ratio. Since it is a teaching school, staff is generally well trained and highly educated in child development (in order to teach the "newbies" in the lab program). You also know that they have met the state standards, the best ones are also NAEYC certified, and they have lots of opportunity for training.
When looking for a center keep in mind:
-staff to child ratio: you want a low ratio- 1:12 is too high
-check the place out in person: you can't replace checking a center out in person with a chat on the phone to the director... you can get a feel for the way staff interact with children, the safety of the center, and an idea of the curriculum. Mostly, you just get that first impression feeling... only mom can evaluate if the place feels like home.
-look carefully at the exterior of the center... if it is run down, the fence is broken, tiles are off the roof, paint is chipping, etc., it says a lot about the way the center presents itself and how it cares for what is inside.
-look for staff that seem interested in your child: greeting them warmly, greeting you warmly, getting down on the child's eye level, etc can go a long way in creating that cozy feeling.
-ask about the curriculum: is it the same curriculum for all classes? Is it age appropriate as well as developmentally appropriate? (not all children the same age are at the same developmental level). What are the children's main goals?(should be something like: acquiring social skills, working on gross and fine motor development, developing cognitive skills) What does the teacher see as the most important thing your child should take away from their experience? (hint: it should not be "academic skills")
-ask about their open door policy: if you are allowed to stop by any time, without reason, to check on your child. If they say no, or that you need to call ahead- run the other way... they've got something to hide.
-ask about staff's qualifications: how many college units do staff need to be hired? How long do the average staff members stay with the company? (this can tell you a lot about the happiness of the staff) Are the staff CPR/First Aid certified?
-ask about fees: are there charges for being late picking up your child? Registration fees? Policies on going on vacation? Charge for lunches?
-ask about their discipline policy: how do they discipline in different situations? When are parents called? Do they seem to have unrealistic expectations of a toddler's behavior, or will they work on correcting problem behaviors? You hear about centers that "throw out" problem children... that is usually due to a lack of staff education on dealing with behavior problems combined with the lack of staff to deal with a child 1:1. Better centers will work with children who have behavior difficulties.
The easiest way I found to evaluate was to make up a checklist on the computer of the things I found important to evaluate and note (such as those mentioned above) and bring a copy to each place I visited. I then wrote down my first impressions of each place, as well as the answers to all the questions I wanted to know on the evaluation sheet. I also took a digital photo of the front of the center (to remind myself later which one was which) Once I had visited all prospective places, I sat down and compared one against the other until I could decide on two I liked best. Then I went back to those two for another tour. I know it can be nerve wracking deciding who will care for your child, but preschool can be a wonderful experience for your child! Good luck!
try this
You can find the numbers to the local child protective services and they have a division that will help you with that.
You sound way toooooo concerned about these facilities.
If possible, why don't you stay at home with your child. Quality spent now with your child is beneficial for both of you, then you don't need to concern yourself with these daycare facilities.
you might want to check the better buz buo. they also might have some complaints on a buz.
NAEYC is the voluntary accrediting agency here in the states. Their web site can help you find a local school. They also have information about what to look for and what questions to ask when you make a visit. The state site given by the first answer should have complaints against homes that are registered also, in most states homes that have a small amount of children, under 7 or 5, often don't have to register.
You also might check your local health department. Often they regulate the licensing of the daycares (at least they do in KS) and reports are often made to them for them to investigate. They might be able to help you.
i commend you for doing so, call your local department of human resources and ask other parents
If you want to check the background of a childcare provider you can go to the Department of Social Services in your city.
They would give you a complete report of the childcare provider you want, if they have a licensed day care of course. If the childcare provider has a licensed day care , the community care licensing division may give any report you need.
Good Luck!!
Try these sites:

Since you are nervous (and have every right to be)when you narrow down the centers you are most interested in than visit them stay in the room your child would be assigned to you can see how they work, talk with other parents. Some of the nicer home daycares are also licensed so look into the option. In Ohio they are call Type A homes I think. Less children, more one on one and the provider usually has all the same qualifications as a center.

Don't listen to the naysayers your are the mom and no one can tell you how careful to be with the well being of your precious child NO ONE. How can you be a productive employee if you are worried about your child.
hi i'm based in the uk, but know from experience how hard good childcare can be to find etc and nurseries especially, i'd firstly go along without your child and get a feel for the place/staff and environment, do the staff look like they are enjoying their day?is there good staff/child ratios? are the kids stimulated and cared for as if by their own parents? perhaps discuss your fears with manager and ask if perhaps you could leave your details or a small note on the notice board asking for other parents to give you some feedback, do your research... after all leaving you child happy is alot easier to contend with than leaving a child kicking and screaming.. x
Have you considered montessori schools. the head teacher in each room is required to have trained to understand why children do what they do and they are still considered childcare and require a daycare license to operate To find out more about child care in your area call your states dept of children and families. i dont know if they are allowed to tell you of any state reg violations though unless it was severe enough to have the place shut down

More Related Questions & Answers...
Financial Aid
Higher Education
Home Schooling
Homework Help
Primary & Secondary Education
Special Education
Standards & Testing
Studying Abroad
Words & Wordplay
General - Education

Financial Services:

1PLs (30-day Loans)