Skip navigation.

Parents Info.

What is a Licensed Child Care Provider?

A licensed childcare provider is a person who opens her heart and home to take care of children while parents work. While in her home, your child has the comfort of feeling at home.

In the past, childcare providers were often called "baby sitters." Times have changed and so has being a "licensed" childcare provider. There is quite a bit of work involved in being licensed today.

In order to be a licensed childcare provider in the State of Colorado, you must take several steps. The first step is filling out an application giving information regarding yourself and all people living in your home. Anyone living in the applicant's home who is 18 years or older must be fingerprinted. Applications are run through the FBI and the CBI registry. Providers are required to take a 15 hour Pre-licensing class, a 4 hour Medications class, CPR class First Aid class and a Universal Precautions class. Everyone living in the home must have a physical. After this is complete, the State Licensing Specialist will call and set up a home inspection.

In order for a licensed provider to continue to hold her license, she must take a minimum of 15 hours of continuing education per year, keep her CPR/First Aid, Universal Precautions and Medication certifications up to date and comply with all of the State's Rules and Regulations. The State then does a drop-in inspection of all providers at least every 2 years, however most receive their drop in visit yearly.

The requirements for becoming an in-home childcare provider have changed over the years and so has the quality of women who choose this profession. Some may have originally chosen this field so they could stay home with their own children. Others may have made this decision based on the fact that they love children and want to have a home based business. Most of these women are homemakers and some have college degrees and left high paying jobs to care for children. Whatever their reason for starting this profession was, they all have one thing in common and that is the love of children.

Interview Process

Your interview should start with your telephone call. You want to make sure that the opening you need is available, check to make sure your hours are compatible, or if your child has allergies to pets, you may want to make sure their home is pet-free. Simple questions like these can save time for both of you. If the phone call goes well ask for an appointment to meet with the provider. Don't be surprised if she insists on setting a time for an evening or on the weekend. This way she can devote her full attention to your family's needs.

Always use your gut instincts in all phases of the interview process. If it doesn't feel right to you, don't look back, move on. Your children are your most precious treasures

Questions to Ask on the Interview

1. Hours home is open?
2. How long they've done childcare?
3. Why do you do child care?
4. How many children are in their care?
5. Ages of children in care?
6. Ages of provider's own children?
7. Are there any pets?
8. Does the provider take the children on field trips or do they leave the home to run errands?
9. Are meals and snacks served? What time?
10. What is your policy regarding early pick up or late arrival?
11. What happens if I am late picking up?
12. What type of discipline do you use?
13. Do you offer any preschool activities with the kids? If yes, what age do you start them?
14. What is you philosophy on infant care? (Where do they stay, put in playpen, held when fed, etc.)
15. Do you take paid vacations?
16. Do you take paid sick personal days?
17. What type of back up system do you offer if you are sick or on vacation?
18. What do I need to provide for my child (clothes, diapers, formula, etc.)
19. What type of TV/movies are shown to the kids?
20. What is a typical day like?

Parents should also ask to see the areas where children will be cared for (nap area, play area, kitchen, etc.). Ask to see the provider's license, which should be posted in a common area. The license will tell you the provider's child capacity and if there are any areas of the home that are off limits. You can also ask to see the provider's last inspection report, which will tell you if any problems were found, and if/how they were remedied. Remember, this is information you can only find when you are dealing with a licensed provider. Is this provider sick often? Does she give adequate notice with taking vacation? Do they feel this provider communicates with the parent if there are any problems?

If the references seem good, there is one more step that you can take. you You can check their file yourself by using the web at: http://www.colorado.gov/apps/cdhs/childcare/lookup/index.jsf or call Human Services at 303-866-5958. Tell them that you have found a provider, and ask to get information from this provider's file. They can mail or fax it to you.

If something happens that you as a parent are uncomfortable with, you need to call Human Services. Please keep in mind that they can only act if a regulation has been violated. Some people think that calling doesn't make a difference, but this is incorrect. Human Services can only deal with a potential problem when concerned parents report them. Again, the availability of this information through a state regulatory agency is another huge benefit -- to both the parent and child -- of using a licensed provider.