Choosing Child Care
This part of our Web site is designed to help you find child care in Austin. In addition to the University of Texas Child Development Centers, Austin has many highly respected programs that can meet a vast array of needs, such as part-time care, care for school-age children, care in a variety of Austin neighborhoods, in-home care provided by baby sitters and nannies, and programs that provide religious instruction. This site offers suggestions for locating and evaluating programs that will meet your needs.
Choosing between day homes and center care
The first step of finding child care is determining what type of care is best for your family. To get started, decide which of the following options is right for you.
- Family Day Homes — Day homes care for six or fewer children in the caregiver’s home, and have the advantage of fewer children and a home-like setting. However, listed and registered home are not often visited by regulators.
- Child Care Centers — centers care for more children in a facility. Licensed programs must meet a set of minimum standards and are visited regularly by regulators.
- Babysitters — If you’re simply looking for care a couple times a month, a babysitter might be the best option for you. Read our tips about finding a babysitter.
Finding your options
After you have decided what type of program you want to look at, visit your state’s child care licensing Web site. In Texas this is the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), Child Care Licensing Division (CCL). Take the following steps using the Web site:
- Create a search and look by zip code to find what programs are in your area. Information will include ages served, programs provided and a history of compliance with the licensing standards.
- Call to find out about costs, hours, services provided and space availability.
- Schedule a visit when you can talk to the director, but plan to make an unannounced visit as well.