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childcare in America

(7 Posts)
GirlWithTheMouseyHair Fri 05-Aug-11 12:23:34

re other thread, DH is being interviewed in LA about a possible job.

We're trying to wok out how much they'd need to pay him while knowing nothing!

What's the deal with childcare in the states generally? I hear there's no free childcare until school (age 5?), what kind of costs are you looking at? Do they have childminders/nursery/nanny options in the same way do?

DS will be 3 and I'ld like him to go structured childcare, not more than a few mornings or one full day a week, just because the poor mite gets desperately bored with only me for company! And there might be the option I could get work, but on very short term contracts so we may need childcare for both children.

MindtheGappp Fri 05-Aug-11 12:36:40

You have the same options that you have here.

At 3, it would be pretty normal to go to pre-school for 3 half-days per week. This is what we would call nursery school.

If you are looking for more than that, then it would be daycare, or some kind of in-home care.

The city that you are moving to should have a website where preschools and daycare may be advertised, otherwise you can google and find out costs and registration procedures via their websites or emails.

Earlybird Fri 05-Aug-11 12:37:52

Qualifier: I don't know about L.A., or the west coast specifically....

There is no free childcare in the States. People generally use nurseries (some are independent on their own site), and many good ones are housed at churches (good use of large church facilities during the week). Expense depends on the region, area, etc.

As far as I'm aware, there is no NNEB or other nanny qualification. But there are nanny agencies - they vet candidates by interviewing in person, checking references, doing a background check (to see if there is a police record), checking to see if there is a 'clean' driving license, and doing a credit check. It is 'safe' to go this route, but expensive (just as in the UK if you use a Nanny agency).

I think there is a thriving market (in western states near the border especially) for hiring Mexican immigrants (female) to do housekeeping/babysitting, and (males) for gardening, handyman work etc. They often work for cash in hand, and this is cheaper than an official 'employee'. But obviously, you must be careful. It is similar to the thriving Fillipina nanny/housekeeper trend in London.

I'm sure you know that in LA, you will need a car (your dh too) as distances are big and motorways hellish. Housing is also very expensive. But - the weather is brilliant!

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Fri 05-Aug-11 12:43:38

Yeah I'm gradually getitng information on housing and lifestyle costs, but just didn't know where to start with childcare. I wouldn't want or need full time care for DS because I won't be working, it's only if I ended up getting a job. Part time is more for him to be out and socialising with other children his age to be honest, especially with me being tied up with a newborn. 3 mornings a week is what we were aiming for if we stayed here anyway.

Are pre-schools attached to schools, do you still pay for them?

MindtheGappp Fri 05-Aug-11 12:49:58

Pre-schools are private and nothing to do with schools. The school system starts with Kindergarten at rising 6.

You don't pay for half-day KG, other than a token registration fee.

Pre-schools are often found in churches, either as a church ministry or a tenant. These will run very short hours, eg 2 - 2.5 hours per day.

If you need something longer, you need to look for "daycare" - the type of place where the kids are looked after from 8am - 6pm. Most daycares will be able to take children up to KG age by offering a KG program, with your child progressing straight to first grade.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Fri 05-Aug-11 12:57:22

ok, so does sound quite similar to here. Thanks, given me some ideas of how to start researching the costs now!

howdoo Mon 08-Aug-11 00:03:27

Agree with MindtheGapp, but would just add that preschools and daycare can get booked up very early so if your DH does get the job, apply to them before you get to the States. My (American) SIL told us about the options before we moved over, so we applied before we arrived. Also daycare (as opposed to preschool) can be v. expensive - for both of our DCs to go three or four mornings a week was around $1500 pcm (can't remember exactly - but we were very happy when they went to school!)

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