Choosing Child Care for Your Children

Children and Family Services

What would you like to do?

What you need to know


​Choosing child care for your children is one ​of the most important decisions you can make as a parent. Selecting the appropriate type of care is very important to their health and well-being​​.

Nebraska requires that anyone​ providing services to four or more children at any one time (from families other than that of the provider and for payment) to be licensed. Licensing requires that the caregiver/teacher and the facility both meet minimal health and safety standards. Most importantly, licensing means that the facility has been inspected by a fire marshal and background checks have been ran on all caregivers.

Please remember, licensing regulations are minimal standards and do not provide any guarantees. As a parent, you are strongly encouraged to visit and evaluate any child care facility you are considering for your child. Spend at least 15 minutes interviewing the prospective provider and visit the facility with your child more than once, with one of the visits unannounced.

The following are suggestions for the types of questions to ask and observations to make during a visit to a prospective child care facility.


  • What is the fee per hour/day/week/month?
  • Are there late arrival fees or other fees I should be aware of?
  • Is there a formal contract to sign?
  • How much notice is required to end the contract? What are the arrangements if/when the provider is on vacation, ill, etc.?​​​​​

Does the provider:

  • Appear patient and friendly?
  • Encourage parents to observe, discuss policies, make suggestions, and participate in the program?
  • Seem to be someone your child will enjoy being with?
  • Seem to enjoy his/her work?
  • Understand what children can and want to do at different stages of growth?
  • Have methods of dealing with behaviors that agree with your own and are consistent with licensing standards?
  • Seem to have enough time to look after all the children in care?
  • Show interest in your child, family and your expectations?
  • Appear organized, with a routine and rules that children can understand and follow?
  • Have previous experience/training in working with children?
  • Have other people who will be caring for your child?
  • Make arrangements when he/she has an emergency that takes them away from the children?​

Does the setting:

  • Have a safe outdoor play area and equipment?
  • Have a safe, clear area where infants can play?
  • Provide enough space for napping and appropriate surface (cots, cribs, mats)?
  • Have locked storage for medications, cleaners, poisons, guns and ammunition?
  • Have working smoke detectors?
  • Have a fire and tornado safety diagram posted?
  • Have pets? If so, are they vaccinated?
  • Have at least two approved exits for child care areas?
  • Have enough space inside and outdoors so all children can move freely and safely?
  • Have enough furniture, play toys, and other equipment for all children to be individually involved?
  • Have equipment and materials that are suitable for the ages of the children?
  • Have a clean, safe place to change diapers?

Do activities include:

  • Creative experiences such as play-acting, music, reading and art?
  • Transportation (if needed) with appropriate seat belts and car seats?
  • Adequate supervision at all times when children are in care?
  • Time outdoors with adequate supervision?
  • Toys and play equipment that are right for the child's age and state of development?
  • Washing hands after diapering, toileting and before preparing food?
  • Enough caregivers/teachers to give individual attention to all children?
  • Nutritious meals and snacks throughout the day?
  • Quiet and active play; indoors and outdoors?
  • A schedule that meets young children's need for routine, but is flexible enough to meet the needs of each child?