Selecting Child Care

Knowing what to look for in an early learning program is important to your child’s growth and will help prepare your child for success in school and in life.

Programs such as:

Keystone STARS – promotes continued quality improvement in child care and Head Start programs.  Providers can earn a STAR 2 to STAR 4 rating by meeting the Keystone STARS quality standards.  All providers who earn a full Certificate start with a STAR 1 rating. The STARS program supports early learning programs in their commitment to continuous quality improvement. Programs that participate in Keystone STARS care about providing quality early learning to your child.  As programs move up the STARS rating ladder, they are providing even higher quality experiences so your child benefits even more from the program

PA Pre-K Counts – quality pre-kindergarten can give a child a strong start in school and in life.  PA Pre-K provides free half-day or full-day pre-kindergarten for children that are eligible throughout Pennsylvania.

Head Start and Early Head Start – are federally funded programs that serve children from birth to five years of age. Services include education as well as health, nutrition, social and other services.

Early Intervention – consists of services and supports designed to help families with children from birth to age five who have developmental delays or disabilities. Early intervention seeks to help children grow and develop through individualized services and supports.

WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN VISITING A CHILD CARE FACILITY?
  • Take your time – look, listen, take a deep breath and think about your children in the new setting.
  • Your child is safe and secure while you are at work or school
  • A comfortable place where your child is challenged to explore and learn new things
  • Your child learns skills needed for kindergarten
  • Laughing, reading and talking
  • A safe, healthy, clean and exciting place
  • Your involvement in the program and your child’s development
  • Respectful relationship between you, your child and your provider.

Your ELRC can help you understand the importance of finding quality child care providers and what to look for, along with questions to ask when visiting a child care program.  To learn more, contact us or call our Hotline 1 888 461-KIDS (5437).

Keystone Stars

Keystone STARS provides families with a tool to gauge the quality of early learning programs.  The STARS program supports early learning programs in their commitment to continuous quality improvement. Programs that participate in Keystone STARS care about providing quality early learning to your child.  As programs move up the STARS rating ladder, they are providing even higher quality experiences so your child benefits even more from the program.  Early learning providers can earn STAR 2 to a STAR 4 level.  At each level, programs have to meet certain research based quality standards that measure four areas that a difference in the quality of care your child receives:

  1. Staff Education
  2. Learning Environment
  3. Leadership Management
  4. Family and Community Partnerships

To learn more, contact us or call our Hotline 1-888-461-KIDS (5437).

Search for a Child Care Provider Online

For an on-line search or an application, visit www.findchildcare.pa.gov

Child Care Search
How do I find child care?

Pennsylvania’s Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRC) provide a single point of contact for families, early learning providers and communities to gain information and access services that support high quality child care and early learning programs. By calling our Hotline 1-888-461-KIDS (5437) or visiting an ELRC, ELRC specialists assist families in making informed choices.  The ELRC will talk to you about your child care needs and share information with you about high quality early learning programs.

You can also search on-line at www.findchildcare.pa.gov

How do I pay for child care?

The ELRC through the Child Care Works subsidy program helps low-income families pay for their child care fees.  You must complete an application to find out if you are eligible for subsidized child care funding. The program pays a portion to the child care provider and the family pays a co-pay.  If you are not eligible for subsidized child care funding, you may be eligible for other early learning programs such as: PA Pre-K, Head Start, Early Head Start or PHL Pre-K. You can call or visit the closest ELRC or apply on line at www.compass.state.pa.us. To learn more, contact us or call our Hotline 1-888-461-KIDS (5437)