What is LOCATE: Child Care?

what is LOCATE: 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.

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 user’s 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 is operated by Maryland Family Network.

How does LOCATE: Child Care help parents find child care?

When a parent contacts LOCATE: Child Care for child care information, a 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 toll-free at 877.261.0060;
  • Call the provider referrals you receive for a telephone interview;
  • Visit at least three 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; and
  • Call LOCATE: Child Care for more information, guidance or more referrals, if needed.

For help finding child care, LOCATE: Child Care also offers online search options for licensed child care and for after-school activities—see the menu on the left.

If you are dissatisfied with a caregiver, you may contact LOCATE: Child Care at 877.261.0060 and speak with a Referral Specialist to discuss your concerns.  Many difficulties between you and a provider can be resolved.  Your Referral Specialist 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. LOCATE: Child Care Referral Specialists can be reached by telephone at 877.261.0060 and can provide you with the telephone numbers of the office nearest you.

If you do have a complaint of this nature, our Referral Specialists can assist you by gathering pertinent information concerning your concern and registering your complaint with the appropriate regulatory or social services agency. The complete LOCATE: Child Care complaint policy is available for you to review.