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Information for Parents

WHAT TYPES OF LICENSED CHILD CARE ARE AVAILABLE?

  • Family Child Care Homes A Family Child Care Home must be in the licensee's own home. A Family Child Care Home reflects a home-like environment where non-medical care and supervision is provided for periods of less than 24 hours.

    There are Small Family Child Care Homes and Large Family Child Care Homes.

    • Small Family Child Care Homes provide care to no more than 8 children.
    • Large Family Child Care Homes provide care to no more than 14 children.

  • Child Care Centers/Preschools

    A Child Care Center (or Day Care Center) is usually located in a commercial building. Non-medical care and supervision is provided for infant to school age children in a group setting for periods of less than 24 hours.

HOW CAN I FIND A CHILD CARE FACILITY FOR MY CHILD?

We have a Facility Search feature on our website that allows the public to find facilities by geographical area. It also provides maps and directions to certain facilities. For child care facilities, however, it will only search for state licensed Large Family Child Care Homes and Child Care Centers. It will not search for Small Family Child Care Homes or county licensed Family Child Care Homes. In addition, to respect the privacy of licensed homes, it will not provide maps and directions to any Family Child Care Homes, but it will provide a telephone number.

Your local Resource and Referral Agency (R&R) , is also available to help you find a child care facility.

HOW DO I CHOOSE A DAY CARE THAT'S RIGHT FOR MY CHILD?

The Department has a form, LIC 9212 , Family Child Care Consumer Awareness Information, which contains information on:
  • Parent responsibilities
  • Provider responsibilities
  • Licensing agency responsibilities
  • How to file a complaint against a child care provider
  • A health and safety checklist to help you evaluate a Family Child Care Home. To see the LIC 9212, click on the blue link above.

WHEN LOOKING FOR CHILD CARE, WHAT SHOULD I CONSIDER?

  • The personality of your child
  • Full or part-time care?evening or weekend
  • Age of your child
  • Location of care
  • Cost
  • Number of children
  • Type of service
    • Educational
    • Recreational
    • Transportation
    • Special Needs

WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IF MY CHILD IS AN INFANT?

  • A stimulating environment.
  • The caregiver provides emotional support, including holding your child regularly.
  • The caregiver adheres to the infant capacity stated on the license.

WHAT SHOULD THE CHILD CARE FACILITY PROVIDE FOR MY CHILD AND WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN REGARD TO BASIC HEALTH AND SAFETY PRACTICES?

  • A caregiver who provides warm and loving care and guidance for your child and who works with the family to make sure your child grows and learns in the best possible way.
  • A setting that keeps your child safe, secure, and healthy.
  • Activities that help your child grow mentally, physically, socially, and emotionally.

If you are interested in finding out if a Child Care Facility meets licensing requirements, you can perform your own review by using the Self-Assessment Guide. The Self-Assessment Guide is a checklist of licensing requirements that child care providers are expected to comply with. The Self-Assessment Guides are available in multiple languages and are easy to use.

You may also contact your local Child Care Regional Office or County Office and make a request to review the licensee's facility file. The file will contain information related to evaluation visits conducted by the licensing agency and any complaints against the facility that were substantiated by the Department.

WHAT SHOULD I DISCUSS WITH THE DAY CARE PROVIDER?

  • Times for arrival and pick-up.
  • Fees and admission policies.
  • Items to be brought from home (food, toys, change of diapers, change of clothes, toothbrushes, etc.).
  • Instructions for giving medicines or special foods.
  • Telephone numbers for home, work, spouse's work, doctor and neighbor.
  • A list of names and telephone numbers of people who may pick up your child.
  • How my child will be cared for when he or she gets sick.
  • The total number of children who will be cared for.
  • The ages of the other children.
  • The sleeping/rest arrangements.

WHAT WILL THE CHILD CARE PROVIDER NEED FROM ME IN ORDER TO ENROLL MY CHILD?

  • Immunization history
  • Tuberculosis test results
  • Emergency information
    • Doctor
    • Dentist
    • Who to call in case of an emergency
  • Names and telephone numbers of people who may pick up your child
  • Health history or any possible health concerns

HOW CAN I ENSURE A POSITIVE CHILD CARE EXPERIENCE?

  • Monitor the condition of the child care facility frequently to ensure that it provides a setting that keeps your child safe, secure, and healthy.
  • Observe your child in the child care setting. Does the caregiver appear to provide warm and loving care and guidance?
  • Listen to what your child says about the care received.
  • Don't hesitate to discuss with the caregiver any problems or concerns you may have. The caregiver should be willing to work with your family to make sure your child's mental, physical, social and emotional needs are met.
  • Contact the licensing agency if there are problems you cannot resolve or serious concerns.
  • Review the facility file by contacting your local licensing agency. A facility file contains all annual field reports, deficiencies, problems, and complaints about the facility.

WHAT RIGHTS DO WE HAVE?

WHAT DO I DO IF I HAVE A CONCERN REGARDING A CHILD CARE PROVIDER?

  • Try to resolve it with the provider.
  • Contact your local licensing office to file a formal complaint.
  • Report suspected child abuse or neglect in Child Care Facilities to your local licensing office.
  • The Child Care Advocate Program is available to assist with problem resolution.

HOW CAN I FILE A COMPLAINT AGAINST A FACILITY?

  1. If you think a child care provider is breaking licensing laws, you may file a complaint with the local licensing office. You can get the address and telephone number in any of the following ways:
    • Your telephone book. Look under State of California, Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing; or County Welfare or Social Services, Child Care Licensing.
    • The provider's license, which must be posted in a prominent place in the home.
    • Your copy of the Parents' Rights Notification form.
    • The Community Care Licensing website .
  2. Call or write your local licensing office and explain your complaint. It will be investigated and you will be notified of the results when the investigation is done.
  3. If you believe your child is being physically or sexually abused, you should also report it to your local Police department or Sheriffs department.
  4. Contact your Child Care Advocate about any issues or questions you may have.

WHEN YOU REPORT SUSPECTED VIOLATIONS, YOU NOT ONLY PROTECT YOUR OWN CHILD, BUT ALSO PERFORM A SERVICE TO OTHER CHILDREN AND YOUR COMMUNITY.

HOW CAN I GET HELP WITH DAY CARE COSTS?

There may be funding available to assist you with day care costs. Your local Child Care Resource & Referral Agency (R&R) or the California Department of Education can tell you if you qualify.

WHERE CAN I FIND INFORMATION ON CHILD HEALTH AND SAFETY?

License Plates for People With a Passion

Kids' Plates are the only DMV license plates that protect California's kids. Kids' Plates generate revenue to strengthen health and safety protections for children and help fund programs to reduce child injury and child abuse. The proceeds from their sale provide funding for local child safety programs throughout the state, including:

  • Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Prevention of Unintentional Injury - Motor Vehicles, Bikes, Pedestrian, Drowning, Poisoning, Fire/Burns, Falls, Firearms and SIDS
  • Ensuring Health and Safety of Child Care Facilities through Licensing

For more information on the Kids' Plates program, please e-mail info@kidsplates.org or call them at 1-800-HEY-KIDS.

To buy a license plate and support these programs, please visit www.kidsplates.org and click on "order plate".

WHERE CAN I FIND OTHER CHILD CARE RELATED RESOURCES AND INFORMATION?