Resources for Families

Locating and Choosing Child Care

PATCH is Hawaii’s statewide child care resource and referral agency working to improve the quality and availability of child care in Hawaii. PATCH manages a database of child care providers and programs. The child care provider listing is constantly being updated in an effort to provide accurate timely information to families.

Our referral specialists are available to help with your questions and concerns such as:

  • Assistance in locating child care providers in an area that meets your family’s needs.
  • Supplying you with a provider profile, which includes information on hours of operation, ages served, and programs. Referrals are not based on current vacancies providers might have.
  • The provider profiles are referrals, we do not rate or recommend any child care programs as the State of Hawaii regulates child care providers.
  • Information about quality child care.
  • A checklist to assist you while on visits to child care programs.
  • Helping your family locate potential child care subsidies and other child care resources.

Child Care Providers are licensed by the State Department of Human Services (DHS) and are not employees or subcontractors of PATCH. We make no warranties about the quality of child care they provide. We also strongly recommend that you carefully read the provider’s contract before signing it to avoid any future disputes or miscommunication.

Choosing Child Care

Choosing a child care provider that’s right for your child can only be done by you. The things at stake are priceless: your child’s happiness and well-being, and your peace of mind. After all, when you buy a car, you shop around, compare quality and price, ask questions, and talk to people to get references and valuable feedback.

As you begin your search for quality care, consider the following:

  • Does the provider love doing things together with your child?
  • Does the provider have toys and activities that match your child’s age?
  • Does the provider talk and read to your child every day?
  • Does the provider praise your child’s accomplishments?
  • Does he or she know how to guide your child and use discipline appropriately?
  • Is the setting safe yet interesting where children are not bored?
  • Does the provider continuously communicate with you about your child?
  • Is the number of children to adults fairly small, especially for infants?

We welcome any questions you might have that will help you in this very important decision. Call your local PATCH office today!

Considering Values and Ideals

Selecting a caregiver that has values and ideas like yours will create a setting that will be familiar and secure for your child. It is important and helpful for you to know what values and parenting style you have. Consider your feelings about the following:


Use of TV

Cultural values


Ethnic heritage

Indoor and outdoor activities



Methods of discipline

Toilet training

Become Aware

Your child care choice is an important consumer decision. You need information to make a well-chosen option in child care. Read parenting publications and ask trusted friends and co-workers for references on child care providers and programs.

Interview, Visit and Observe

Interview a few caregivers over the phone. Ask about current vacancies, hours of operation, staff-to-child ratios, age range of children in care, fees and what they include, the learning opportunities offered, and whether the provider is a licensed child care provider.

Visit, observe and evaluate the providers you felt most comfortable with during the phone interview. Bring your child along to meet the provider and explore the home or site. Your child’s first impressions are just as important as yours. You should feel comfortable asking questions or raising concerns. Providers should be willing and eager to share all aspects of your child’s progress with you. You have the right to visit or call at any time during the program’s operation.

Checklists for Choosing Child Care

There are two checklists to choose from. Pick the one that’s right for you. Take the checklists with you on visits.

Child Care Aware at

UH Center on the family at

Make a Decision

Review the information you were able to gather from visits to facilities, interviews, and reference checks. ALWAYS check references before making your decision. Remember – choosing a child care provider that’s right for you and your child can only be done by you. Do a “cost-benefit” analysis. A high fee doesn’t always mean excellent care, nor a low fee poor care. Keep looking until you find a match between money and quality.

Consider your overall impression of the quality of care your child will be able to receive. If needed, schedule additional visits or follow-up phone calls to get all the information you need to make a final choice.

Once you’ve decided, contact the program, to sign up your child. You probably will be asked to fill out paperwork and pay a deposit to save your child’s space. When you’ve determined your child’s “first day” you can start preparing him or her for the transition.

Keep in mind that once you and your child start with a provider, you should continually monitor you and your child’s satisfaction. If concerns arise, try to work with your provider. Although consistency and the bond that is developed with a provider is very important to young children, it is okay to change provider if needed.

If you are seeking immediate assistance, click here for an Online Child Care Referral
or contact your local PATCH office.

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