How to Choose a Daycare

The 22-year-old owner of Jackie's House Daycare facility is charged with reckless injury to a child. Last week a fire at the facility killed four children and injured three others. So how can parents know how to pick the right daycare? As Laurie Johnson reports — there are resources to guide you if you know where to look.

There are approximately 1,500 registered daycare centers in Harris County. Add nearly a thousand more if you count licensed care homes. Sifting through all of those options can be daunting. Carol Shattuck with Collaborative for Children says her organization partners with the state of Texas to maintain a comprehensive database of facilities.

"Once we have those in our system then we call them and get additional information about their programs that they have, their hours, their fees, how they support children with special needs, are they part of the state's childcare subsidy programs. So there's a wealth of information in addition to what the state provides us."

Shattuck says parents can call the Collaborative and get assistance from a child educator on staff there. The Texas Department of Family Protective Services also lists daycare centers, along with their licensing compliance, on its website.

"There is high quality care in our community. We see it, we experience it, we help centers achieve it through some of the training and the mentoring that we do with teachers in childcare programs. If you invest the time up front, we feel like you can make choices within your budget and have a sense of comfort about how your child is being cared for."

The Collaborative for Children offers the service in a 13-county region including Harris County.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...