What are my choices in child care?
There are many kinds of child care arrangements that parents can choose. Finding the right childcare for your child is hard work that only you, the parent, can do. Here is some information to help you in your child care search. The information below describes the two primary child care settings – child care centers and family child care homes.
While quality child care may be expensive and difficult to find, remember that infancy and the preschool years are probably the most critical developmental stages in your child's life. There is no one right way to make the decision.
The right kind of child care can be a wonderful opportunity to enrich your child's life and help your child realize his or her full potential.
What does a child care license tell me about a facility or provider?
Some forms of child care require licensing and others do not. The State of California requires that most child care centers and family child care homes be licensed by the Community Care Licensing division of the Department of Social Services.
The following types of care do not require a license:
In the licensing process, a child care program is inspected by a state licensing analyst to ensure that the program meets minimum health and safety standards specified by law. There is a limit to the number and ages of children for each adult caregiver, and anyone caring for children must undergo an FBI background check. You can view all child care licensing requirements at the Community Care Licensing website: http://ccld.ca.gov/.
Parents should ask to see any family child care home or center's license, but a license by itself is no assurance about the quality of care provided. It is up to you to interview, ask questions, and make your own determination on which care is the best for your child.
What are Family Child Care Homes?
A family child care home is childcare offered in the private residence of the person who provides the care (called a provider). California's family child care home regulations distinguish between a "small" home and a "large" home. Homes must meet certain requirements before being granted a license. They are inspected before receiving a license, when there is a complaint, and once every 5 years to be sure they continue to meet these requirements.
What is the group size and provider-child ratio in family child care homes?
For a Small Family Child Care Home, the maximum number of children cared for, including children under age 10 who live in the home, is one of the following:
For a Large Family Child Care Home, the maximum number of children cared for when there is an assistant provider in the home, including children under age 10 who live in the home, and the assistant provider’s children under age 10, is either:
What are the key state requirements for family child care homes?
How do I choose a child care program that is right for my family? Here are some tips if you decide to use a licensed family child care home or child care center:
Allow yourself plenty of time to look at a variety of childcare arrangements. If possible, begin your search several months before you need the care.
Consider what you will need from your provider:
Decide on a location and if you need care:
Get a list of names from the local child care Resource & Referral agency and from friends and family. In Alameda County, call 4Cs at 510-582-2182, Bananas (510) 658-7353 , Child Care Links (510) 568-0306 and Child, Family & Community Services at (510) 265-5300 or, if you live in Alameda County, visit 4Cs online referral service site here: Find Child Care Now.
Do a telephone screening. Start your selection process on the phone and take notes on the following points:
Visit a variety of facilities. In addition to looking at the environment, observe the interaction between the caregivers and children.
Interview the director or family child care provider and each staff member who will care for your child.
Check for reports of any complaints filed against any of the programs you are considering.
Get references from other parents in the program. Ask the center director or family child care provider to give you a list of names and phone numbers of parents who are currently using the program or who have used the program in the past.
Have a "test-period" with the program to see how your child adjusts and to give yourself time to evaluate your decision.
What if my child has special needs?
Early childhood programs, both family child care homes and child care centers, provide environments in which all children can grow and develop. The opportunity for children with special needs to participate in playful experiences with other young children has great value for all the children; as they play together, they develop a sense that everyone, regardless of ability, makes an important contribution to the group.The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights law passed in 1990 that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. This means that child care providers are required to make reasonable accommodations to support and enable children with disabilities to become fully included in their programs. An accommodation is considered reasonable if it does not cause an undue hardship to the provider. This is assessed on a case by case basis, taking into consideration the provider's available resources. The ADA is trying to encourage the attitude of "Let's see what we can work out..." instead of "We can't do that." For more information on the ADA law and best practices for inclusion in child care, contact our Resource and Referral Department at 510-582-2182.
What is Trust Line?
Trust Line is a database of nannies and babysitters that have cleared criminal background checks in California. It is the only authorized screening program of in-home child care providers in the state with access to fingerprint records at the California Department of Justice and FBI. It was created by the California Legislature in 1987 and is a powerful resource for parents hiring a nanny or babysitter.
All caregivers listed with Trust Line have been cleared through a fingerprint check of records at the California Department of Justice. This means they have no disqualifying criminal convictions or substantiated child abuse reports in California. Trust Line is administered by the California Department of Social Services and the non-profit Child Care Resource and Referral Network. It is endorsed by the California Academy of Pediatrics.
How can a parent use Trust Line?
Parents can check whether a nanny or babysitter is already listed with Trust Line by calling 800-822-8490. Parents will need the person's full name and driver's license number.
How do I prepare my child for child care?
First, prepare yourself. Many parents experience guilt, frustration, jealousy, and unhappiness when leaving their child with a caregiver for the first time. Have confidence in your ability to find the best situation for your child and talk to other parents to help clarify your feelings.
Here are some tips to help prepare your child:
Does your childcare except subsidy programs?
· Yes, all subsidy programs are welcome
Where can I find more information?
California Department of Social Services Child Care Licensing Division released a set of videos answering many questions parents may have about child care. Visit their videos for parents at families at https://ccld.childcarevideos.org/parents-and-families/
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