In the past, I have offered these links for students wanting more information on choosing a child care:
www.childcareaware.org: Child Care Aware of America. They have great articles on choosing child care, and also a state-by-state list of: agencies that do referrals, child care licensing regulations, inspection reports, resources for children with special needs, and more. A fabulous resource!
www.childcare.org: This is Child Care Resources, based in Washington state. They have lots of good info on making the choice, but some of their info (like about their referral line) is only relevant for Washington residents.
I have given http://www.saferchild.org/caregiver.htm, but that URL no longer works. At http://www.saferchild.org/askthe/, you can find their Questions to Ask a Prospective Daycare. The questions are great in many ways, but I find the overall tone could be a little scary for new parents as it talks a fair amount about what can go wrong in child care.
I’m now adding this to my resources:
http://families.naeyc.org/ – The National Association for the Education of Young Children. They have great resources on choosing child care (see the infographic at the top of the post). I like that they divide off sections on quality care for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, because although you’re looking for many of the same things, there are also differences in what counts as quality child care for a 3 month old and a 3 year old. They also have a directory to search for NAEYC accredited child care centers and preschools.
And, for those who are using / will be using a family member to provide child care, here’s a couple good articles on setting clear expectations and resolving conflicts: Should you hire a family member for childcare, and When Family Members are your Child’s Caregiver.