What to consider when looking for child care

Posted at 6:07 AM, Feb 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-03 12:31:59-05

Finding quality, affordable child care is an increasing struggle for Hoosier families.

Infant care in Indiana costs about $8,918, more than in-state tuition for a 4-year public college, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

In Indiana, child care for a baby costs 3% more than the average rent, and the fees continue to go up.

For a family with an infant and a 4-year old, child care costs an average of $15,678 a year, which is about 27% of a typical family’s income.

If you’re looking for child care, you can call the Brighter Futures State Hotline (1-800-272-2937), which can help you find licensed homes, centers and registered ministries that meet your financial needs.


  • Plug in a provider's name to ChildCareFinder.IN.Gov and look for complaints, inspection reports and any pending enforcements
  • Use your eyes and ears when visiting. Are they following safe sleep? Is equipment working? Are children strapped into their high chairs?
  • Drop by the child's day care unexpectedly during the day. What is seen at pickup and drop off may be very different than what's happening during the middle of the day
  • Ask to see the provider's license or registration, which should be posted in a public area. If the provider is on probation, it will say so on the license, along with the reasons why.
  • Ask to see a copy of the day care's discipline policy. Corporal punishment is not illegal in the state of Indiana
  • Ask what their current child-to-staff ratio is. Experts say accidents are more likely to happen when staffers are watching a lot of children.
  • Ask if the provider is part of the state's voluntary rating system, called Paths to Quality. The state said this helps guarantee they're meeting and/or exceeding licensing requirements regardless of type of day care
  • If you use an unlicensed facility, know they do not have to submit to background checks, CPR training, safe sleep training and other requirements. Ask to see proof your provider has completed these.
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