Our online resource and referral website provides families looking for child care with profiles of childcare providers located throughout Wyoming. After a few clicks, you will be able to view profiles of child care providers in your area. To visit our online service go to Wyoming Child Care Referral and begin your search! You may also contact the child care licenser in your area or call our Quality Child Care Resource and Referral Program Manager, Tania Trujillo at Tania.Trujillo@wyo.gov or call 307-777-7290.
WY Quality Counts
The WY Quality Counts! Program is housed in the Wyoming State Department of Workforce Services.The goal of the program is to raise awareness about why quality child care matters for Wyoming’s children, their families and our future. With funding from the Wyoming State Legislature, this program also provides scholarships, grants and training to Wyoming’s early childhood industry.
Quality early care, whether at home or outside the home, is more than a safe and nurturing place for children. Quality programs prepare children for success by using developmentally-appropriate teaching methods and materials to develop cognitive, language, social/emotional, and motor skills.
What Can Parents Do?
Because parents are in a child care program each day, they have the best knowledge of what the provider is, or is not doing. Children need for parents to constantly assess the child care arrangement. Here are some proactive ways parents can evaluate child care providers on an ongoing basis:
- Ask your child what he or she does during the day
- Find out how he or she interacts with the caregiver. Listen carefully to what your child says.
- Spend a few minutes each day to talk with the caregiver about your child.
- Drop in frequently and participate in activities.
- Observe behavior during drop-off and pick-up, and explore unexplained changes.
Early Childhood Developmental Screenings
Visit the Wyoming Department of Health to learn about early childhood screenings.
Parent Information Center (PIC)
A statewide parent information center for families of children with disabilities. PIC provides information, support and referrals to families on their rights and responsibilities under the special education law- the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). We help families understand their child’s disability and support them in working as partners with schools and service providers to receive better education programs and services for their children. PIC staff can attend Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings with families and provide workshops, webinars and trainings on specific disabilities and other disability topics upon request.
The Child Care Subsidy Program helps low income families pay for the cost of care when the parent(s) are working or in school. Based on the family’s income, the parents will be responsible for paying for part of the cost of care. The Department of Family Services’ Child Care Subsidy Program uses a combination of state and federal funds to assist eligible families in paying for the cost of child care while the parent(s) is working or attending an approved educational activity. If the family meets the eligibility criteria, the Department of Family Services pays a portion of the cost of care. Parents are free to choose a child care arrangement that best fits their needs as long as the provider chosen meets certain health and safety requirements.
TANF helps needy families achieve self-sufficiency. This is done through a block grant states get to build and run programs, which help needy families. TANF support helps many parents reduce their dependency on government benefits by helping them find and enroll in career training programs while promoting work and marriage and preventing out-of-wedlock pregnancies. All of that encourages the formation and maintenance of two-parent families.
There are 51 Head Start (HS) and/or Early Head Start (EHS) sites in Wyoming serving a total of 2,405 people in Wyoming, primarily children ages 0-5 with a small fraction of pregnant women receiving services prenatally through Early Head Start.
WY Quality Counts
WY Quality Counts’ mission is to raise awareness about why quality child care matters for Wyoming’s children, their families and our future.
http://wyqualitycounts.org For fun activities you can do with your child “like” them at www.facebook.com/WYQualityCounts
LIEAP is a state and federally-funded program that helps people pay home heating bills November through June. The program is open to homeowners and renters. It helps cover the costs of electricity, natural gas, propane, wood, diesel heating oil, coal and pellets when these are used for heating a home. 1-800-246-4221
The cornerstone of the federal food assistance program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides crucial support to needy households and to those moving from welfare to work. SNAP benefits are distributed electronically through the Wyoming Card. SNAP supports better nutrition for low-income households.
Child Health resides within the Maternal and Child Health Unit, Public Health Division of the Wyoming Department of Health. The purpose of the Child Health Program is to facilitate access to screening and to promote physical health for children ages 1-11.
The Wyoming guidelines available to parents, caregivers, early childhood professionals and policy makers about development and early learning in the first three (3) years of life, which were produced by the Wyoming Early Learning Guidelines Task Force (2011).
A free, online resource developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Designed for parents of 2 to 4 year olds, Essentials for Parenting addresses common parenting challenges, like tantrums and whining. The purpose of the resource is to provide as much information as possible on things you can do to build a positive, healthy relationship. Skills focus on encouraging good behavior and decreasing misbehavior using proven strategies like positive communication, structure and rules, clear directions, and consistent discipline and consequences.
Essentials for Parenting includes:
- Articles with a variety of skills, tips, and techniques
- “Frequently Asked Questions” answered by parenting experts
- Fun and engaging videos featuring parents, children, and parenting experts who demonstrate and discuss skills
- Free print resources like chore charts and daily schedules
Quality Care Resources
One of the most important decisions you will ever make as a parent is choosing quality child care for your child. Recent studies show that brain growth is affected by the young child’s earliest experiences with the adults in his world. Knowing how to look for quality care will help you find the best child care program for your family. Every child is special and unique and deserves the best start possible. The top 10 reasons for choosing quality child care are:
- School Readiness! Children in quality settings will not only gain intellectual skills, but also social skills that will prepare them for the school environment.
- Attention! Attentive staff increases a child’s individual attention while in care.
- Professional Staff! A quality setting includes staff trained to care for children and their needs.
- Positive Relationships! Quality care promotes a positive relationship between parents and caregivers. Parents involvement is a priority.
- Opportunity! Developmentally appropriate learning materials and activities give children the opportunity to learn and grow.
- Respect! A quality program will be respectful of a families cultural and ethical needs.
- Professionalism! A quality program will have business practices and policies in place so parents know what to expect in various situations.
- Safety! Quality programs number one goal is the safety of the children.
- Stability! Parents have assurance that their child is in a safe, positive environment where turnover is minimal.
- Participation! Quality providers are always learning, to continue striving for higher quality early learning experiences for children.
5 Simple Steps to Follow when Visiting a Early Childhood Program
Look– Begin by visiting several child care homes or centers. On each visit, think about your first impression. But don’t stop there. Does the program look safe for your child? Do the caregivers/teachers who will care for your child enjoy talking and playing with children? Do they talk with each child at the child’s eye level? Are there plenty of toys and learning materials within a child’s reach? You should always visit a home or center more than once. Stay as long as possible so you can get a good feel for what the care will be like for your child. Even after you start using the child care, continue to come back and check it out.
Listen- What does the child care setting sound like? Do the children sound happy and involved? What about the teacher’s tone of voice? Do they seem cheerful and patient? A place that’s too quiet may mean not enough activity is planned. A place that’s too noisy may mean there is a lack of guidance.
Count- Count the number of children in the group. Then count the number of staff members caring for them. Usually the fewer the number of children for each adult, the more attention your child will get. A small number of children per adult is most important for babies and younger children. The license should be posted and list the number of children allowed by age group.
Ask– The knowledge and experience of the adults caring for your child is very important. Find out about the special training they have. Ask about the background, education, and experience of all staff: caregivers, teachers, and program directors. Ask the same questions about any other adults who will have contact with your child in the home or center. Quality caregivers/teachers will be happy to have you ask these questions.
Be Informed- Find out more about efforts in your community to improve the quality of child care. Is your caregiver involved in these activities? Does your caregiver belong to any professional organizations? Has your child’s caregiver achieved accreditation or completed training that exceeds minimum requirements? Do they have training in child development or a college degree?
Be sure to that the Quality Early Childhood Questionnaire with you when you go.