In-home vs. center — The Bump
D.C. Area Babies

In-home vs. center

Sorry for all the posts tonight. DD went to bed early, so I actually have time! I know this can be a controversial subject, but we have a spot at both an in-home and a center and are having trouble deciding. I know there are pros and cons to both. For us, briefly:

In-home: Pros - 2 blocks from our house, inexpensive, the people who have used this woman love her

Cons - Not licensed, didn't feel very child friendly, provider is nice, but I didn't feel the immediate personal connection that I wanted to

Center: Pros - licensed, very child friendly, low staff turnover, good reputation

Cons - Very pricey (about $6K more a year than in-home), doesn't allow part time although I just need 3-4 days/wk,would add more to our commute/less convenient

Does anyone have any thoughts? What have been the most important features of your daycare?

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Re: In-home vs. center

  • Let me first start off by saying, I personally would never, ever, ever use an in-home daycare. There are no cameras, no one is there to monitor them, since it is in their house, other people are in and out all day, any in-home places I have heard of is just one person with a couple kids. That is way to many for one person to do everyday. And just because you think a person seems nice etc, you never know how they are alone with the kids. What if they are having a bad etc. Too scary for me.

    Plus one person cannot give the attention each child leaves. Also, because all the age groups are mixed together, they don't receive the structured education part of it and it would be impossible to teach each group individually as they are all at different levels.?

    ?There are so many psychos out there and so many of these people just decide that they are going to open a daycare center in their home and it turns into a babysitting service, not a learning environment. And who knows what they are doing when you're not watching. Every story I hear about children getting abused, hurt etc. in daycare are all in-home facilities. There were just two on the news this week.

    ?That being said, you need to check out centers because they do vary but they are all reviewed by the state and do have certain standards to meet. I have seen some ones that are not up to par but my daughter's is the most amazing place ever.

    It is run like a school, not a daycare. They have cameras in every room, a security code to get in the center and a security code to check your child in and out.

    They have a curriculum and schedule every day. Special events, a music teacher comes in every week, Spanish class, letters, counting, reading and arts and crafts every day, Am and PM outdoor recesses twice a day on their huge playground, class trips etc.I get a progress report on her every day and once she was out of the infant room, the teachers would do quarterly evaluations on your child in terms of their learning skill. Amazing, amazing, amazing.

    I pay $257 a week (it gets cheaper the older they get) and it is worth every penny if not more. You said, a center was $6k more a year, personally, that is not a lot when you break it out over a year.

    And some centers do allow part time but if you's doesn't, you could still use the other two days as errand days and then just pick him/her up early those days. Like I said, DD's is a school and she is learning just like regular school. I wouldn't keep her out of regular school just because I didn't work that day so there is no reason why you couldn't use the other days as well.

    Location is important and ours just happens to be 2 miles from our house but we would have driven farther for this school provided it wasn't way out of the way.

    I guess for us, price was important but I also go by the belief that you get what you pay for and no way did I ever expect to be impressed as much as I am and these teachers are taking care of her for 10/11 hours a day. I need to feel safe, secure and comfortable with my choice.

    ?That's my two cents.

    - LH?

  • Unlike the pp, I think in-home is fine, but think that a licensed daycare is important.  All licensed daycares (in-home and center) have to be monitored by the state and are subject to "pop-in" inspections.

    We are using an in-home b/c several teachers I work with use her and love her.  A teacher's recommendation is likely to be a good one. 

    Based on what you described about the two choices you have, I would probably go with the center, assuming that you can afford it.  To me, the pros you listed for the center were the things that I think are most important for any daycare.

  • I am not an expert on the FSA Dependent Care rules but one thing to consider is whether the unlicensed in-home provider will be eligible for reimbursement through the Dependent Care FSA (I don't know the answer to this). If not, then you will get a tax benefit for going with the center-based care. I think they allow you to put away $5K pre-tax for qualifying dependent care expenses which will save you about $1500 in taxes depending on your tax bracket.

    The other consideration is what happens if the in-home provider gets sick or needs to go on vacation? Do they have a back-up or would you have to find another provider during that time? If you would have to find another emergency provider (in case they get sick), that could also increase the cost of the in-home option.

    Good luck with your decision. I know these are hard decisions since there are pros/cons to both options.

     

     

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  • i'm going to have to wholeheartedly disagree with the very first poster. The in-home daycares i have looked at have been licensed, recommended by other parents, clean, in safe neighoborhoods and have a good representation of kids ranging in age.

    The one we ultimately chose is part of the Infant Family Childcare network, her home is impeccable clean, she has two part time workers that have been with her for years, her references absolutely adore her and the kids whenever i've been there have been happy (and might i add i did drop in one day, unannounced and the door was safely secured and the kids were all clean and playing).

    On the flip side, throughout highschool and college, i worked at two different daycare centers. The first one was a smaller, local company that has 4 centers in northern virginia and the second company i worked with is a national company.

    They both had their pro's and con's. As with all daycare centers, the teacher turnover rate is high bc its isn't the most profitable job and it does wear on your nerves when you feel unappreciated by management. But there are those centers and those rooms that have had the same teacher for years. Teachers that are loved by staff and children alike, but it is hit or miss.

    Anywho, let me stop rambling on but i'll leave you with this last thought. Despite what anyone says, in home and centers both have their pros and cons. But whats most important to you is how you feel with the place you're going to be leaving your child at. Are these the people you want caring for your child during the day? Would you absolutely not mind if there were teachers caring for your child that you haven't met? Do you feel safe with leaving your child in someones home?

    All good questions to ask yourself when going to daycares and in home. And i full heartedly (sp?) agree with the pp that said its important for in homes to be licensed. I believe that they need to be monitored as well.

    gl! and do whats best for you and your family.

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  • JARbabyJARbaby
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    There are no cameras, YES THERE ARE-both the in-homes I used have them no one is there to monitor them THE STATE DOES VERY CLOSELY-there are state case workers that drop in at random several times a week, since it is in their house, other people are in and out all day NOT TRUE-some are very strict, any in-home places I have heard of is just one person with a couple kids NOT TRUE-mine has 2 employees.

    Plus one person cannot give the attention each child leaves. Also, because all the age groups are mixed together-Mine has different Pre-school programs for each age group, they don't receive the structured education part of it Not ture of any that we looked into, we wanted a structured preschool program to make them school ready. and it would be impossible to teach each group individually as they are all at different levels thats why they hire teachers

     There are so many psychos out there and so many of these people just decide that they are going to open a daycare center in their home and it turns into a babysitting service, not a learning environment. Licensing is in place for a reason, it is not easy to get, closely monitored and the programs in this area are structured and strict.

    I could not be happier with ours and C is very advanced for her age! We pay $175/week for C and $200/week for J. I would never use an unlicensed facility. I have meet the people who monitor in our area several times and feel confident in the place we send our kids that it is safe, loving and very educational/

  • I've just started my search, and what I have found most helpful is the Virginia Department of Social Services website (http://www.dss.virginia.gov/facility/search/licensed.cgi) where you can type in your zip code to view providers (in-home and center) in your area and their Social Services inspections. It can be pretty scary viewing all of the violations, but usually they are simple fixes. However, I have noticed that if you read through the violations at centers and the violations in-home, there is not a large disparity between the two.

     I see that you are in DC, but I'm sure the District would have a similar system. If not, you can always call and find out where you can view the inspections, since these are public records.

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  • In your scenario above, I would choose the center over that particular in-home.  No license would not fly with me.

    Any provider you choose should be licensed, staff experienced, facilties safe, and most importantly should pass the mom-test.  Are you comfortable leaving your child there? - if you are not comfortable, don't do it. 

  • Yeah, as you can see it's a hot topic.  My take on it is to be careful making generalizations, both in-homes and centers can vary widely in what they offer - there are crappy/scary in home places and there are crappy/scary centers.  To say all in home places are wonderful or horrible, or all centers are wonderful or horrible is too black and white, IMO.

    For your situation, I agree with barkers4jmm (especially the "mom-test" part).  The fact that the in-home is not licensed would be a huge concern for me. We use an in-home provider, but she is licensed in our county and so there are inspections and drop-in visits, and other checks/balances done by the Office for Children (basically what they do for centers as well).  If there was an incident, I have recourse - I'd contact the county, and action would be taken.  If there is an incident with your unlicensed provider, I'd be worried that there's not a whole lot you can do about it, legally.

     

    Wife, Musician, Fed, WW-er, and Mom of three little kids - not necessarily in that order.
  • In re-reading your post, these cons:

    image emack:

    Cons - Not licensed, didn't feel very child friendly, provider is nice, but I didn't feel the immediate personal connection that I wanted to

    ...seem much more concerning than these cons:

    image emack:

    Cons - Very pricey (about $6K more a year than in-home), doesn't allow part time although I just need 3-4 days/wk,would add more to our commute/less convenient

    The cons of the center have to do with money and convenience, while the cons of the in-home seem like very personal concerns.  I'd suck up the money/convenience concerns before taking my baby to a place where I don't feel 100% comfortable with on a gut level.

    Good luck, I know it's tough making this decision.  It's one of the hardest things us working moms have to do!  And just remember, while it's not ideal, you can always pull your kid out if you feel you've made the wrong decision.  You're not signing a lifelong contract.  Most places require just two weeks notice.

    Wife, Musician, Fed, WW-er, and Mom of three little kids - not necessarily in that order.
  • First off, in regards to your post- I would NOT choose an unlicensed daycare. Period. I dont care how good it is.


    Second off, WOW 100% disagree with first poster. We too debated between center and in-home and looked at several of each. We ended up with in-home and so glad we did. Its more of a "home" environment. The ratios are LESS than a center. There are 3 providers for 6 kids!!!! Thats right. Also, one of the BEST advantages of an in-home is the varied ages of the kids. My DD started rolling early because she was watching the toddlers when playing on her blanket. She has already learned so much. Its always lively and they are always doing something fun. Id rather her be the youngest than the oldest. The centers seemed really depressing. Anyway, when she is a toddler, I will consider moving her to a center, because then its more structured. My inhome lady is very flex and keeps her on the schedule I want, the daycares wouldnt have time to do that. So for now, it works for us! good luck

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  • JARbabyJARbaby
    10000 Comments
    member
    image peapine:

    The ratios are LESS than a center.

    My DD started rolling early because she was watching the toddlers when playing on her blanket. She has already learned so much. Its always lively and they are always doing something fun.

    The centers seemed really depressing. 

    My inhome lady is very flex and keeps her on the schedule I want, the daycares wouldnt have time to do that.

    I agree, more attention than a center due to ratio.

    DD is on a 3 year old level with vocab, drawing and counting, can read some wrod and is starting to write and draw shapes. Knew all ABC and coutn to 19 at 18 months.

    Mine goes with my schedule and makes all organic and home made food and is teaching them how to cook and bake.

    i too fell they are depressing, like a kid mill but that is simply opinion.

  • The 1st poster just LOVES to rant on and on about in-home centers.  I swear, those are the only posts I've ever seen from her. 

    To answer the OP's question- I wanted a place that was safe and a provider who was caring and loving.  I found that in an in-home provider.  Based on your 2 options, I would choose the center.  I would not be comfortable w/an unlicensed provider or someone who wasn't child friendly.  You have to go w/your gut feeling.  GL!

  • Our in-home provider has been great so far.  Her house is immaculately clean, she is very affectionate with the children, and the other 2 children there just love her.  She sends home a report every day of how much Ellie is eating, sleeping, and when she's getting changed.  When I drop Ellie off, she smiles at her.  When I pick her up, she is smiling at her.  I've met the providers two children, and they are very polite and well behaved.  She's licensed.

    We hired her through a go-between type of agency.  We pay them, they pay her... and, when back-up is needed, they provide for it.  They also check in on her unannounced at least every 6 weeks.  We pay almost as much for her as we would for a center, though.  So, we're not really seeing any cost savings.

    While we're happy with our current situation, we saw a couple of pretty dismal in home places. 

    I think if you didn't feel comfortable with the lady, I'd go with the center in your case.  If you decide later that you hate the center, you'd be more likely to be able to find an inhome place on short notice.

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