One of the greatest challenges faced by working parents is finding affordable, reliable childcare. While there seem to be daycares and home child care providers on every corner they often have waiting lists, only care for children in certain age groups, or are not open hours that are convenient for parents that work long hours. These limitations can be frustrating initially but can be over come. One of the first things a parent or guardian needs to do is acknowledge their child care needs, for example, what hours they will need child care, what services the provider needs to have available (meals, activities, et.), if you want the provider to come to your home rather than bring your child to them, and how much you can afford to pay.
Once you have figured out exactly what you need in a childcare provider you can begin your search. The local yellow pages often have a complete, and up to date listing of day care facilities, these listings will usually tell the hours of operation, services, and sometimes the price. In most cases you will have to call the facility for an accurate price since fees will vary based on the age of the child. If the child needing care is a school age child their school might be able to provide information on before and after school care, some schools even offer programs for a small fee.
Other parents are also a wonderful source of information. Talk to coworkers and close friends who also have small children and find out who they use for child care services. If you are interested in having someone come to your home to care for children your local paper is a good place to look. Many newspapers have large categories for childcare services and, if this is more expensive, you can try to find a fellow parent who is willing to bring their child to your home for care and share the childcare expenses. If you find that you still can not find a good child care service most state governments offer child care referral services free of charge with information posted on their individual state web site or in the local government center.