First a licensed place, believe or not there child care centers out there that don't have their licenses in order. Then, talk to other parents that have their children somewhere. Check the center's reputation, what people say . Also, visit the center to check out conditions, does it have enough staff, good conditions, how are the rooms, playground, etc, etc. Finally, and I'm sure not everybody will agree on this one, I don't think it's a good idea to chose a small center, somewhere average to bigger is better, because it tends to be more professional and there are more people (staff) checking on the rest of the people (staff), to see if everything goes well with the children. Imagine, there is less chance of neglect or abuse if there is a lot of people checking on each other.