Parents: Is Your Child Care Program Prepared?

March 28, 2017

Placing your child in another person’s care can be a difficult and emotional decision. When looking for a child care program, your most important consideration is the safety and well-being of your child. Knowing your child will be cared for in a healthy and secure environment that has appropriate safety measures in place is a top priority. Before making a decision about a child care provider, visit several programs and ask questions, including those related to emergency plans.

Preliminary data from a recent survey conducted by Child Care Aware® of America indicates that 38% of parents are unsure of their child care provider’s emergency plan and another 7% state that their child care program does not have an emergency plan.

Preliminary Child Care Emergency Preparedness Survey Data, March 2017
Source: Child Care Aware® of America


Be proactive. Ask child care providers about their preparedness and response plans for emergencies. Over 45% of parents also reported that the child care emergency plan was not communicated to them.

Preliminary Child Care Emergency Preparedness Survey Data, March 2017
Source: Child Care Aware® of America


Parents: Ask Your Child Care Program Before a Disaster…What’s the Plan? This resource from Child Care Aware®, a program of Child Care Aware® of America, is partly funded by the Office of Child Care (OCC), Administration for Children and Families (ACF). It is  available for download in both English and Spanish formats.

We encourage consumers to ask child care programs 10 important questions related to their emergency preparedness plan:

  1. Do you have an emergency preparedness plan for disasters that are likely to occur in our area?
  2. How will you safely evacuate my child to a safe, predetermined location?
  3. How and when will I be notified if a disaster occurs when my child is in child care?
  4. If I can’t get to my child during or after a disaster, how will you continue to care for my child?
  5. Have you and your staff received training on how to respond to my child’s physical and emotional needs during and after a disaster? (are all staff first aid and CPR-certified, for instance)
  6. Will you teach my older child what to do in an emergency?
  7. Do you have a disaster kit or supply kit with enough items to meet my child’s needs for at least 72 hours?
  8. Do the state and local emergency management agencies and responders know about your child care program and where it is located?
  9. How may I help you during and after a disaster?
  10. After a disaster occurs, how will I be notified about your plan to reopen?

For more information, visit

Topics: Best Practices, Health & Safety, emergency preparedness

Holly Nett

Written by Holly Nett

Holly Nett serves as the Director of Child Care Emergency Partnerships and has been with Child Care Aware® of America for the past seven years. She has a primary focus on bridging the gap between the emergency preparedness, response, and recovery industry and child care programs. She also develops and delivers emergency preparedness training and technical assistance focused on business continuity, disaster plan development, and helping children and caregivers deal with the social/emotional aftermath of a disaster to Child Care Resource & Referral teams and child care program staff across the nation.