Education
One of the highest priorities for relocating families is finding a new school appropriate for their children and providing a smooth transition so learning can continue and new friendships can be formed. This chapter will provide an overview for learning more about the many educational resources available in the Phoenix area. You’ll also find information about colleges and universities, private schools, a list of recommended immunizations for children from 0 to 18 years of age and data about several Phoenix-area school districts.

The Phoenix region is rich in education opportunities from early child care to graduate school, and there are many options. Currently there are approximately 525 public and private schools within the Phoenix area, which educate nearly 300,000 children within 30 school districts.

Parents can select from a few hundred private schools offering pre-K through high school education, which include institutions rooted in religious traditions, schools that provide intensive academic experiences or schools reflect a particular pedagogy or specialization for specific populations. The diversity of schools helps area residents fulfill the American ideal of educational pluralism and collectively contributes to teaching, nurturing and inspiring young minds.

CHILD CARE
Upon arrival to the Phoenix area, one priority may be determining where to get child care, especially for children under the age of six. Many couples are both professional income earners and may not have close or extended family nearby to help. Luckily, the region offers many options and resources, including licensed facilities, independent child-care homes and access to in-home professionals.

DEFINING CARE TERMS
The Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES), Child Care Administration regulates daycare centers, certified group homes, small family child care homes and other services. According to the DES, child care can be broken down into the following types of operations.

— DHS Regulated Providers
With some exceptions, providers who care for more than four children for compensation must be licensed or certified by the Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS). The exceptions include those who provide care in the following:
  • Where children may come and go on their own (such as Boys and Girls Clubs)
  • Where parents remain on the premises (such as health clubs)
  • On military bases (where care is regulated by the military authorities)
  • On tribal lands (where care is regulated by the tribal authorities)

DHS regulates and monitors both residential and nonresidential settings. Child care providers who care for children in their homes can care for up to 10 children for compensation in a DHS Certified Group Home. Nonresidential sites require a license from DHS as well. As a group, these are known as DHS Licensed Child Care Centers. Some child care centers identify themselves as preschools or school age programs.

Regardless of the name, the rules and regulations for all centers are identical. The total number of children allowed is based on the physical facility. DHS centers and group homes staff are fingerprinted for a criminal background check. At all times, they have at least one staff present that has current training in CPR and First Aid.

— DES-Regulated Providers
The Arizona DES regulates and monitors some residential providers, which are called DES Certified Family Child Care Homes. They may care for no more than four children at one time for compensation. They may care for up to six children in total; including the provider’s own children. They may care for no more than two children under 1 year old. DES-certified providers must have Arizona Child Protective Services (CPS) clearance, which includes fingerprinting for a criminal background check and proof of current training in CPR and First Aid. They also have their homes inspected for a wide variety of health and safety standards.

DES also certifies providers to care for children in the child’s home, which are known as DES Certified In-Home Providers. DES Certified In-Home Providers have Arizona CPS clearance, which includes fingerprinting for a criminal background check and proof of current training in CPR and First Aid.

— Child Care Resource and Referral Registered Providers
Arizona Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) lists some homes that may not be monitored by any state agency. These are called CCR&R Registered Family Child Care Homes. They care for up to four children at one time for compensation. Registered family child care home providers have Arizona CPS clearance and submit a sworn statement attesting that if they have a pool, it is safely fenced and that any firearms and ammunition in the home are locked in separate locations.

OTHER CARE OPTIONS
— Nannies
Nannies are employed by the family on either a live-in or live-out, part-time or full-time basis, to undertake all tasks related to the care of children. Duties generally are restricted to child care and the domestic tasks related to the children. The nanny may or may not have had formal training, though often has extensive child care experience and a background in early childhood education. Typically, full-time employed nannies will work 40–60 hours per week. Usually work is unsupervised.

According to the International Nanny Association (INA) (www.nanny.org), you can look for a nanny in many places, including help-wanted ads in newspapers and magazines, bulletin boards and referrals from friends. These approaches can be time-consuming and also can result in negative experiences. The association suggests that you contact nanny training programs about the availability of their graduates or that you take advantage of the services offered by nanny placement agencies.

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