Child Care Tips for Parents with Infants & Toddlers

Child Care Tips for Parents with Infants & Toddlers

Finding the right child care program for your family isn’t just important – it can be an intimidating or scary process. There are many things you should know before you go into the process that can make it easier, though.

When looking for a child care program, be sure to keep these tips in mind:

  1. Visit the child care program when it is open and children are there.
  2. Ask questions: bring along the checklist in this booklet to help you out.
  3. Make sure the child care program is licensed or registered with New York State and has enough teachers or staff for the number and ages of children that are present.
  4. Talk with parents whose children have attended the child care program. What are their thoughts? Ask them what their experience has been like.
  5. If you don’t feel comfortable, it’s not the right fit. There’s no shame in visiting a program and leaving because you don’t get a good vibe. Being comfortable leaving your child there each day is one of the most important aspect about choosing child care.
  6. Make sure the cost of the program is in your price range. If not, consider other programs or means of making child care more affordable.
  7. Don’t stop till you’re satisfied. It’s OK to visit multiple programs and call around until you find a child care program that is the perfect fit for you, your family, and – most importantly – your child.

Because you have an infant or toddler, you should definitely pay attention to these indicators in the child care program:

  • Babies are not disciplined, and are cared for with a comforting voice and gentle touch;
  • Toddlers are fed smaller portions, and mealtime is used for learning skills like self-feeding or using a fork;
  • The provider(s) understand that (1) toddlers are just beginning to talk and when upset may bite, hit, kick, or have a tantrum instead of using words, (2) do not know how to share toys, and (3) may get frustrated with an activity and need help finding something else to do;
  • The program has soft furniture and toys when toddlers need quiet space and time;
  • Children can be seen and heard during naptime, each child has their own napping space and materials, and infants sleep when needed and sleep on their backs;
  • Toys are safe and appropriate for infants and toddlers;
  • The provider(s) work with parents to help toddlers with toilet use; toileting accidents are handled calmly.

If you ever have any questions about what to look for in a child care program specific to infants and toddlers, contact your local Child Care Resource & Referral Agency. If you’re located in Buffalo/WNY, call Child Care Resource Network at 716-877-6666 or visit our website at

Information in this article was adapted from several resources from NYS OCFS. Learn more here:


Child Abuse Prevention Month: Building Community, Building Hope

Child Abuse Prevention Month: Building Community, Building Hope

By Susan DiNatale, Director of Education & Training

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time specifically set aside to bring awareness to child abuse, how to prevent it, and how to identify victims of abuse. Child abuse victims are not only young children; they are children of all ages. Abuse is not always at the hands of parents or caretakers. As child care and out-of-school care professionals, Child Abuse Prevention Month is a reminder to be diligent in recognizing red-flag behaviors that can help identify the children who suffer abuse at home or in other areas of life. So what are those “red-flag” behaviors? And more importantly, how can you know when to offer support or report a problem?

Frequent Injuries

All children will explore their environments and sometimes end up with bruises, scrapes, and cuts. However, frequent injuries or injuries that occur in the same area of the body may be a red flag. In accidents, injuries tend to be to one side of the body, so bruises or injuries to the eyes or to both sides of the head/body should be looked into. Unexplainable or inconsistent reasons for injuries, from children and as well as parents or caregivers, are also a red-flag. This includes difficulty or pain with walking or sitting and bruises in various stages, which may indicate a history of injury.

Change in Behavior

23564859519_98bd17aba4_o.jpgChildren experiencing abuse often have unexpected changes in behavior. For example, a child may all of the sudden become destructive, disruptive, withdrawn, or passive. These sudden changes in behavior or extreme behaviors can be a sign that something is not right with the child. Inappropriate sexual suggestiveness, age-inappropriate knowledge, and victimization of other children are also red-flag behaviors. Children who are abused often seek additional attention, sometimes in negative ways.

Fear of Going Home

A strong desire to stay with a child care or out-of-school program, a fear of the child’s parent or caregiver, or fear of an anticipated family event can indicate something more than not wanting to leave a fun place.

Stealing or Begging for FoodLouis eet zijn eerste verloren brood

At various stages of development, children can seem to eat their weight in food! These times are often tied to growth spurts, especially in later grade school years. Children who steal or beg for food, however, may not be getting the amount of food or nutrition they need at home. This could be caused by low income parents lacking the resources to provide adequate nutrition, or could be the result of food being deliberately withheld. Supports are available for families that need help providing the appropriate nutrition for their children.

Lack of Care

Struggling families often have trouble with getting basic resources. Parents often work more than one job and may find it difficult to fully provide the safe, nurturing environment children need to thrive. Dirty, torn, or inappropriate clothing, poor personal hygiene, lack of medical or dental care or children left unsupervised can indicate abuse or neglect.

Keep in mind that parents who genuinely love and care for their children as best they can may still not be able to fully provide the resources needed. Again, there are supports available for families that can help them to meet their children’s needs; however families may not be aware of these supports or how to connect to them.

There are many other signs of possible child abuse or neglect, and by New York State regulation all child care and out-of-school care professionals must regularly get training on child abuse and maltreatment. It is important to remember that seeing any of these red-flags does not mean that abuse, maltreat, or neglect is being experienced by the child, but it is something to be aware of and take into consideration.

Child care providers can be a vital part of not only prevention but reporting child abuse and neglect. As care providers, we are mandated reporters of child abuse and maltreatment. But it’s not just a state mandate: it’s our job to ensure the children in our care are safe and healthy ensure they reach their full potential.

Advocacy Update 2017

Monica Wallace Final Image 1This past advocacy season has been a busy one! With the state budget still not set, Child Care Resource Network has been working locally as well as on a state-wide scale to ensure that child care funding is at the front of all legislators minds.

  • In November 2016, Erie County Legislator Lynne Dixon wrote a resolution to Governor Cuomo urging him to put child care funding in his budget for the upcoming year.
  • In November 2016, the Buffalo Common Council wrote a resolution to Governor Cuomo in support of Child Care Resource Network, urging him to put child care funding in his budget for the upcoming year.
  • During Winning Beginning NY’s advocacy day in Albany, CCRN staff traveled to the state’s capital and met with five local Assembly members and Senators to let them know how important it is to fund child care and include it in their budget for the upcoming year.
  • In February 2017, a letter was circulated in the NYS Assembly highlighting the critical need for our state to fund child care. Locally, two Assembly Members signed on: Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Assemblyman Robin Schimminger. • In February 2017, a letter was circulated in the NYS Senate highlighting the critical need for our state to fund child care. Locally, one Senator signed on: Senator Patrick Gallivan.
  • CCRN is actively recruiting families and child care providers to be advocates in the community.

Top 9 Most Common Citations During Child Care Inspections & How to Avoid Them

Top 9 Most Common Citations During Child Care Inspections & How to Avoid Them

By Jackie Roberson, Jr., Director of Legally Exempt

  1. Immunization records not found on-site for each child
  2. Smoking conducted indoors
  3. No working carbon monoxide detector on-site
  4. Materials such as lighters, medications, detergents, aerosol cans, and various cleaning agents not stored in an inaccessible area which does not post a hazard to the children
  5. Evacuation drills not being conducted monthly
  6. Emergency telephone numbers not listed on-site
  7. Protective caps or covers not installed in all electrical outlets
  8. No working smoke detector on-site
  9. No portable/stocked first aid kid on-site

How to prevent health and safety citations found during inspections:

  • The providers must report all providers, volunteers, employees, and household members in the home where child care is taking place
  • The provider must inform the enrollment agency (CCRN’s Legally Exempt Department in Erie County) of any changes in the schedule of care
  • The provider must have a working carbon monoxide detector on-site
  • Materials such as lighters, medications, detergents, aerosol cans, and various cleaning agents must be stored in an inaccessible area which does not pose a hazard to the children, and if they are stored in an area which poses a hazard to children, they are locked with a locking device so that children cannot access the poisonous materials
  • Evacuation drills are conducted monthly
  • Emergency telephone numbers posted on-site
  • Protective caps installed in all electrical outlets throughout the house
  • Working smoke detectors on-site with new batteries
  • Portable/stocked first aid kit on-site • Copies of immunization records found on-site for each child
  • The location of care is free from smoke/all smoking conducted outdoors

What is Legally Exempt child care?

The term “Legally Exempt” child care refers to care provided by a provider who is exempt from child care licensing and registration regulations. Providers are caring for closely related children or no more than two non-related children in their own home, or are providing care in the child(ren)’s home. If a parent has a child care subsidy through the Erie County Department of Social Services (ECDSS), the legally exempt provider must be enrolled through DSS.

What is the responsibility of CCRN?

Child Care Resource Network (CCRN) is responsible for enrolling, re-enrolling, inspecting, and monitoring child care providers who care for children, under the age of 13, who receive day care subsidy from ECDSS. The agency enrolls over 1,300 child care providers per year. In order for a working parent to receive subsidized funding, parents must first apply with ECDSS to obtain a day care subsidy case. Once the working parent has obtained the daycare subsidy case, the parent would then choose a day care provider, and ECDSS will pay for the services rendered.

CCRN and ECDSS Day Care Unit work together to determine the eligibility for the payment of child care providers receiving subsidized payment from ECDSS. The income standards are used to determine eligibility and how fees for Non-Temporary Public Assistance Day Care Services are

How to Get More Referrals for your Summer Camp

By Christen Balistreri, Parent and Employer Services Specialist

Suddenly its spring and you realize that school will be out soon – but you still have spots open in your summer camp. What do you do?

Filling summer camp slots is often difficult for child care providers. Many parents have their child care needs met during the school-year. But are their options when the child’s day is no longer spent at school? That’s where you come in.

bubble-time-1428705.jpgAside from advertising, one of the best methods of ensuring you are getting calls, e-mails, and questions about your child care summer camp is to contact your local Child Care Resource & Referral Agency (CCR&R). CCR&R’s are located almost everywhere – sometimes in each county, other times in general regions. When a parent calls a CCR&R looking for child care, a database is pulled up of all the options they may have. While these options depend on many variables, a large one is whether or not your information is up to date. Some information in these systems is automatically updated and pulled from state databases, but other information isn’t. If a CCR&R doesn’t know you accept school-age children or have a summer camp, they won’t be able to refer you. If your hours or rates change in the summer, this won’t be reflected in the system unless it is updated.

The easiest way to ensure your information is up-to-date is to contact your local CCR&R. If you’re unsure where the closest one is to you, you can search it on the national site, Child Care Aware of America here: http://

While referrals to parents are just that – referrals and not recommendations – it is more likely that you’ll receive an increase in calls and inquiries about your program or summer camp once all the information in your profile is up to date. Updating your information should always be free, and depending on your CCR&R can be done online, over the phone, or in-person. If you’re confused about what information is currently in your profile, contacting your local CCR&R can help you find out.

For providers in Buffalo and Erie County, Child Care Resource Network is your CCR&R. Our office features a Parent and Employer Services Specialist designated to helping parents find child care. By working with our Parent and Employer Services Specialist, we’ll work to ensure your information is up to date and help you get more referrals and calls. If you’re located in Erie County you may use this link to update your information about your summer camp or program: For more information on this database or to update your information in our database, please contact our Parent and Employer Services Specialist, Christen Balistreri, at:

Child Care Resource Network

1000 Hertel Ave Buffalo, NY 14216

716-877-6666 ext. 3079 Fax. 716-332-2454

More Than Just Reimbursement: Why You Should Participate in CACFP

By Karen Kopacz, Director of CACFP

March is National Nutrition Month – a time to focus our attention on the importance of making nutritious food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. What a great time to sign up for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)!

StockSnap_GV79M48QQMCACFP is a federally funded program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This program helps registered, licensed, and legally exempt providers by reimbursing them for serving healthy and nutritious meals and snacks to children up to age 13 enrolled in their care. The reimbursement from the food program enables providers to purchase high-quality, nutritious food to meet requirements of the program and get children started on the right path of healthy eating.

Child care plays a significant role in shaping the nutrition and physical habits of children. CACFP helps children grow healthy and strong. Many children are in care over eight hours each day and eat the majority of their meals in child care. Starting children off on the right foot with serving nutritious meals to them at a young age will teach them healthy eating habits which will last a lifetime. Participating in CACFP can make sure that these nutrition habits are good ones. Participating in CACFP is a sign of high-quality care. CACFP can play an important role in obesity prevention by educating caregivers about child nutrition and the prevention of obesity.

Providers participating in CACFP receive regular training and guidance about many nutrition, mealtime, and child development topics. There is annual training on health, nutrition, and updates around policy and procedure changes. Providers also receive on-site assistance from their CACFP Specialist numerous times throughout the year at their child care program.

2304581456_fd23ffcdf8_oAlong with getting reimbursement for serving children healthy and nutritious meals and free training, participating in CACFP is a benefit to parents as well. Parents know their children are eating safe, healthy meals and snacks. Parents know their children are learning about nutritious meals and the benefits of eating healthy. It saves families time and money as well, as they do not have to pack food to bring to child care.

Communities, as well as child care providers and families, benefit through CACFP. Studies show children enrolled in CACFP have healthier diets and are not sick as often as other children. CACFP payments to providers help reduce child care costs for working families. If you are not already participating in the CACFP program and are interested in learning more and signing up to receive payment for serving healthy and nutritious meals, please contact Child Care Resource Network’s CACFP department at 716-877-6666 Ext: 3093.

Meet Our New Staff Member: Jessica Collins

Jessica Collins, Agency Administrative Assistant

Jessica CollinsQ: What did you do prior to CCRN?

A: “Prior to CCRN, I was a nanny, a psychology student, and a personal assistant.”

Q: What drew you towards working at a non-profit organization?

A: “I find working for a non-profit to be very rewarding. I had previously worked for one for eight years in Buffalo, and I enjoy that there is a singular goal and vision in mind in regards to the work that we do here.”

Q: What do you enjoy most about working in an organization that interacts with children, families and child care providers?

A: “I really love meeting and being able to assist the providers and parents that come in that are from different cultural backgrounds than myself. I enjoy hearing the perspectives of people from other countries.”

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

A: “The most rewarding part of my job here is when I know I’ve been able to make someone else’s job easier.”

Q: What children do you interact with? What activities do you do together?

A: “I really enjoy spending time with my step-kids and three nephews. Sometimes I am even crazy enough to have them all sleepover at once. They love to go to the library to do crafts and take out books, to go sledding at Gunther’s Hill in Hamburg, and to Buffalo Botanical Gardens.”

Q: Who is your biggest influence?

A: “My friend Maryann, who is 73, is a huge influence. She is a cancer survivor, an activist, still tap dances, and does yoga. She has worn many hats via her professional life and hobbies. She is never afraid to take on a new adventure.”