Start with online research
Read reviews from other Care.com members. Each review includes a rating and comments on the family's experience with the business. Then, perform your own independent search on each business. Search the web for any news articles about them. Look them up on review websites and social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Also, make sure each business is up to date on all necessary licensing. (Licensing requirements vary by type of care and by state, but you can contact your state's Department of Licensing to learn more about the guidelines and also to check licensing status.)
See for yourself with a visit
An in-person visit helps you get a feel for a place that online research might not. Trust your eyes, ears and instincts. Schedule a time to visit and meet the director and caregivers. Ask about employee training, certifications and the types of background checks they run. See if the rooms are clean. And make sure the staff is friendly and knowledgeable. Visit the facility several times before making a decision. Make a surprise visit to observe the staff and environment. And avoid businesses that won't let you come by without an appointment.
Narrow down your choices
Conduct reference checks on your top choices by talking to past and current clients. Would they recommend the business to a friend? Have they had any issues? Then see if they're accredited by industry-leading organizations. These organizations have higher than average standards, so if a business is accredited it's a strong indicator that it's well run.