Parents & Families

Looking for Child Care?

Choosing your child’s care is a very important decision.  Region 9 Resource & Referral is a no-cost Resource and Referral service.  We offer individual child care referrals to help families choose the child care program that best fits their needs.  With our up-to-date information about local child care options, quality indicators, and steps to take when seeking care, we are here to assist.  All information shared with Region 9 Resource and Referral is confidential and used for the purpose of assisting you in your search for child care.  We do not license, endorse or recommend any one program over another.

Call our referral specialists at Region 9 Resource & Referral, Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. for information on locating and choosing early care and education and school-age child care in Alexander, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Iredell, McDowell, Mitchell, Watauga, and Yancey counties, financial assistance options to help families afford child care, and child development. It’s free and confidential. Call 1-877-670-8735 to get started.

The link below offers families the option to search for child care online by asking questions about what you and your family are looking for. Our database will compile and produce a list of local child care options with contact information to assist you in your search.

Online Child Care Search

About Quality Child Care

In order to prepare children for tomorrow’s challenges, they must have every opportunity to learn. For this to happen, children need to grow in stimulating environments, both in and out of the home, which encourage language and motor skills development, emotional awareness, social interactions and physical growth. In fact, studies show that children’s academic performance can be directly attributed to the care they receive during the first five years of life.

With this in mind, parents and families should make every effort to choose a quality early education program that will best prepare their child for school and life.  “Brain architecture is constructed through an ongoing process that begins before birth and continues into adulthood. The early years are the most active period for establishing the neural connections that comprise our brain architecture. As it emerges, the quality of that architecture establishes either a sturdy or a fragile foundation for all the capabilities and behavior that follow (First 2000 Days).”

The most important step in your search for a quality early care and education or school-age child care program is to VISIT at least three programs and look for clues that show each program’s quality. Tour the program and observe the children and the staff. Ask questions — about the staff and children, about safety and health issues, and about the setting and programming.

Click on the link below for a printable checklist you can use to track the important information about each program you visit. The checklist is broken down into several categories covering a wide range of topics, from general program information to the needs of your child. You may need to make additional notes as you ask questions.

Child Care Center Checklist

Family Child Care Home Checklist

To help you make the right choice for your child, researchers have identified research-based guidelines to think about when choosing a child care program. Considering these guidelines can help you find a place where you feel comfortable leaving your child.

  • Low child/teacher ratios
  • Low teacher turnover
  • Staff with higher education
  • Prior experience and education of the director
  • Well-compensated teachers who receive good benefits
  • Accreditation or a 4 or 5 star license

Low ratios and low turnover allow teachers to respond to the individual needs of children, to give each child ample attention and to create a strong bond, adding to the child’s security. Higher education helps staff and directors understand the needs and development of young children, which helps teachers plan activities for children and interact with them in developmentally appropriate ways. Well-compensated teachers with good benefits change jobs with less frequency, lowering turnover and increasing opportunities for children to create attachments and build relationships. Finally, child care programs with a national accreditation or higher-than-minimum ((*)) license demonstrate an intent to provide high quality care and have met higher-than-minimum standards to receive the accreditation or license.

Call for more information and referrals in your county at 1.877.670.8735 or email Christen Fries, Referral Specialist for Region 9 Child Care Resource and Referral, at

The Daily Parent

The Daily Parent newsletter offers the latest information on child development issues, gives practical everyday suggestions for busy parents and child care professionals. The Daily Parent is distributed in communities through CCR&R agencies and child care providers.

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