Finding Child Care
Selecting child care is an important decision for you and your child. The quality of care, cost, and convenience of location will have a big impact on your lives. To help you make this decision, resource and referral services are available through LOCATE: Child Care, a free service that will help you find child care to fill your needs.
What is LOCATE: Child Care?
LOCATE: Child Care is a computerized resource and referral database that contains information on all regulated child care in the state of Maryland. Parents can obtain referrals to regulated child care available in their neighborhoods or near their workplaces. These include:
- Family child care
- Center-based care facilities
- Private kindergartens
- Private nursery schools
- Head Start programs
- School age programs
- Summer camps
- Summer programs
LOCATE: Child Care is a free and confidential service available to any parent searching for regulated child care. The users' names and telephone numbers are collected for follow-up purposes only and are never shared with other individuals or organizations. LOCATE: Child Care is publicly funded and operated by the Maryland Family Network.
How does LOCATE: Child Care help parents find child care?
When a parent contacts LOCATE for child care information, the LOCATE Referral Specialist will:
- Discuss the parent’s child care preferences such as type of care, location, cost and other pertinent variables;
- Explain the type of child care available;
- Provide guidelines for quality child care,
- Search LOCATE’s database and provide parents with a list of child care options.
- Provide current information on early childhood education and best child care practices; and
- Link the caller to other resources such as the state subsidy program, Purchase of Care.
LOCATE Referral Specialists provide this service with respect to the parent’s right and ability to choose the best care for his/her child. Service is provided to callers by trained LOCATE Referral Specialists who are professionals holding a minimum of a Bachelors Degree in early childhood education or other related field.
What are the steps to finding quality child care?
- Call LOCATE: Child Care at this toll free number: 877.261.0060
- Call the provider referrals you receive for a telephone interview.
- Visit at least 3 programs. Take your child with you and observe the facility, the caregiver, and the other children.
- Decide on child care arrangements that seem the best for your and your child.
- Take steps to establish a good relationship with the child care provider.
- Call LOCATE: Child Care for more information, guidance or more referrals, if needed.
For help finding Child Care, you have several options. You can search through the web by clicking on search for licensed Child Care or if you are searching for school age care click on search for out-of-school activities.
If you are dissatisfied with a caregiver, you may contact LOCATE: at 877.261.0060 and speak with a counselor to discuss your concerns. Many difficulties between you and a provider can be resolved. Your counselor can give you some helpful tips for continued communication with your provider.
Complaints that involve any threat to the health, safety or welfare of a child should be immediately registered with your regional Office of Child Care and, in certain circumstances, with the Child Protective Services division of your local department of social services. A LOCATE: counselor at 877.261.0060 can provide you with the telephone numbers of the offices nearest you.
If you do have a complaint of this nature, the LOCATE: counselor can assist you by gathering pertinent information concerning your complaint and registering your complaint with the appropriate regulatory and/or social services agency.
Below is an overview of the complaint policy of the Maryland Child Care Network and the Maryland Family Network.
To view the complete LOCATE Complaint Policy, click here