Working parents, particularly women returning to work after the birth of a baby, often need to find quality child care.

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments provides a child care information and referral network for parents and area employers.

"This service has made it easier for parents to find child care, made employers more aware there is a child care problem and made local governments and employers aware of the shortage of child care providers," said Pat Marks, child care coordinator at the Council of Governments.

The network's brochure "Locating Child Care in the Metropolitan Washington Area" lists information on day care centers, family day care homes and before- and after-school programs in the District, Montgomery and Prince George's counties, and Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties. Copies are available at public libraries and Giant and Safeway stores.

Family day care homes, in which one adult cares for five or fewer children at home, is the primary form of child care in the area, Marks said, adding that more adults are needed for this program. Employers may also subscribe to the network's specialized program that locates child care based on a family's specific needs, such as the age of the child, the language spoken and the cost of care.

For bulk copies of the brochure, call Pat Marks: 223-6800.