crsheader Index Child Care: Before and After School In-Home Care

What is before and after school in-home care?

Before and after school care is generally for children 6 to 12 years of age. Care is also provided holidays, school breaks, and vacations. In-home care means hiring someone to care for your child in your own home. The caregiver may be a friend, neighbor, relative, or professional nanny. If you hire the person through an agency, a background check should have already been done. Some states have resources that allow you to do background checks. For further information, contact Child Action at 916-369-0191.

Ask the prospective caregiver:

  • Can you tell me more about your background and experience?
  • What are some reasons you enjoy taking care of children? Do you have children of your own?
  • How will you get to and from work?
  • How will my child be transported if you leave the house?
  • What are your expectations regarding length of commitment?
  • Do you smoke? Do you have any health problems?
  • Have you had training in first aid?
  • What kinds of activities might you plan for my child?
  • What are your views on discipline? Meals? Television? Friends?
  • What would you do if . . . ? (Give examples relevant to your situation: medical and personal emergencies, common problems with child.)
  • Can you give me several references, preferably from former employers?
  • What questions do you have for me?

Observe or ask about:


Does my home have:

  • child-sized furniture?
  • ample toys and art materials?
  • plenty of indoor and outdoor space?
  • special areas for quiet and active play?
  • safe, creative outdoor play equipment?


Does the caregiver:

  • welcome my questions and suggestions?
  • share my childrearing philosophy?
  • take time to share my child’s experiences with me?
  • sensitively handle feelings of fear, shyness, upset, and anger?
  • respect my child’s unique background and interests?
  • really listen and talk to my child?
  • establish and consistently maintain limits?
  • provide consistent care so my child has a stable, predictable daily routine?


Will the activities the caregiver provides:

  • balance active, physical activities with quiet, restful ones?
  • prohibit play that could quickly get out of hand?
  • patiently encourage toddlers to solve some problems on their own?
  • help children deal with feelings constructively?
  • provide security through a well-defined, predictable schedule of daily activities?
  • balance structured and unstructured activities?

Health and Safety

  • Is each child required to have an up-to-date immunization record?
  • Does the facility meet state standards for how many children can be taken care of by one adult?
  • Are staff and children taught to wash hands with soap and water after using the restroom or contact with body fluids?
  • What is the procedure for medical emergencies?
  • Is the caregiver trained in first aid?
  • Does my home have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers? Regular fire drills? Alternate exits?
  • Are important phone numbers posted near the phone? (Examples include police, fire, poison control center, hospital, children’s physician, ambulance.)
  • Does my caregiver always know how to get in touch with both parents?
  • Can all doors, inside the home be opened from the outside at all times?
  • Are the outside doors and windows locked?
  • Are the rooms well ventilated and comfortable year-round?
  • Are stairways and walkways free from clutter?
  • Are small, sharp, or otherwise dangerous items out of reach or locked in a cupboard, drawer, or cabinet? (Examples include pins, thumbtacks, paper clips, matches, lighters, knives, plastic bags, scissors, guns, razor blades, glassware, appliances.)
  • Are poisonous items stored out of reach or locked in cupboards, drawers, or cabinets? (Examples include cleaning products, polish, bleach, medicines, cosmetics, perfumes, aerosol cans, and first aid supplies.)
  • Is the outdoor area fenced and free of hazards?

Written by Donna Warner Manczak, PhD, MPH. Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2011-01-28
Last reviewed: 2009-05-26 This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional. References
Pediatric Advisor 2011.4 Index
© 2011 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.