Resources for Parents

TYPES OF CHILD CARE IN CALIFORNIA

CHILD CARE CENTERS: 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.

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.

LICENSE-EXEMPT CHILD CARE: California’s child care regulations are intended to promote children’s health and safety in licensed child care facilities. However, families and providers should understand that state regulations exempt certain types of providers from licensure, meaning they can operate legally without a license.  Licensed providers have undergone an application and review process with Community Care Licensing and are required to comply with certain health and safety regulations. While license-exempt care is not regulated by Community Care Licensing, there may be other governmental agencies that monitor their activities.

Four main groups of child care providers are exempt by the state from obtaining a child care license.

  • The first group includes individuals who care for the children of a relative, or who care for the children of one other family in addition to their own children. Certain parent cooperatives, in which families rotate care on an unpaid basis are also exempt.
  • The second group includes public as well as private non-profit programs that offer recreational services. These programs include some community centers as well as most parks and recreation programs.
  • The third group includes businesses that offer limited child care to their clients and customers. These programs usually require that the parent or guardian remain on the premises and that they remove their children within a specified amount of time.
  • A fourth group includes programs that are overseen by state agencies other than Community Care Licensing. For example, organized camps that are overseen by the Department of Public Health and heritage schools that are overseen by the Department of Education.

VIDEO: Understanding Licensed Care and License-Exempt Care

SEARCH FOR YOUR FACILITY ONLINE

Community Care Licensing Division has compiled important information regarding licensed facilities to provide the public on an online searchable database. The information supplied on the database contains facility inspection reports, violations, inspection history and other pertinent information for prospective parents/caregivers.

This information should serve as an initial point of inquiry regarding the status of licensed facilities. Additional information about a particular facility is available from the appropriate licensing office.

If your child is already enrolled in licensed care, you can subscribe to your child's facility in the database and get updates when any new information is provided about that facility.

Regarding Family Child Care Homes in the Facility Database:

  • Large family child care homes may be searched by area and contain the same information child care centers have excluding addresses.
  • Small family child care homes may only be searched by knowing the exact facility license number; a general search will not bring up the small family child care home.
  • Family child care homes located in Del Norte or Inyo County are not in the database.

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


CHOOSING THE BEST CHILD CARE FOR YOUR FAMILY

The Parent’s Guide to Choosing Child Care is the Department’s comprehensive publication for parents seeking child care.  It includes information about the different types of child care that are licensed in California, various educational philosophies, questions to ask a prospective provider, and a checklist to take with you when you tour facilities while making your child care decision.

VIDEO: What to Look for When Choosing Child Care

The Family Child Care Consumer Awareness Information form (LIC 9212) provides information about:

  • Parent responsibilities
  • Provider responsibilities
  • Licensing agency responsibilities
  • How to file a complaint against a child care provider



YOU AND YOUR CHILD(REN) HAVE RIGHTS REGARDING CHILD CARE

Children, parents and authorized representatives, and child care licensees all have rights in licensed child care facilities. Protecting these rights is an important part of the emotional and physical well-being of children in care. Everyone must be treated with dignity and respect and these rights must be protected according to California's laws and regulations. 

Parents' Rights: LIC 995 (Child Care Centers)
PUB 393 (Parents' Rights Poster-Child Care Centers)
LIC 995A (Family Child Care Homes)
LIC 995B (Family Child Care Home Addendum-Removal/Exclusion)
LIC 995C (Family Child Care Home Addendum-Reinstatement)
PUB 394 (Parents' Rights Poster-Family Child Care Homes)
VIDEO
: Parents' Rights in Child Care

Children's Rights: LIC 613A (Personal Rights-Child Care Facilities)
VIDEO: Children's Personal Rights in Child Care

Applicant/Licensee Rights:
LIC 9058
VIDEO: Rights of a Child Care Licensee


IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS ABOUT YOUR CHILD CARE PROVIDER

  • Try to resolve it with the provider.
  • If you think a child care provider is violating licensing laws, you may file a complaint with the complaint hotline or your local licensing office.
  • If you suspect any form of child abuse or neglect you should report it immediately to your local police or sheriff's department  and your local licensing office.
  • The Child Care Advocate Program is available to assist with any issues or questions you may have.


FILING A COMPLAINT AGAINST A FACILITY

If you feel it is necessary to file a complaint with the department you may call the complaint hotline or call or write your local licensing office. When you contact the department it is important to provide the following information:

  • Your name and contact information
  • the name of the facility
  • the facility location
  • the facility license number
  • the more information you can provide about your concern, the better:
    • what you saw
    • when and where you saw it
    • who or what was involved in the situation

Your complaint will be investigated and you will be notified of the results when the investigation is done.

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

VIDEO: How to File a Complaint with Community Care Licensing


GET HELP WITH CHILD CARE COSTS

There may be funding available to assist you with child care costs.
The following resources may be able to provide assistance:


ADDITIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY RESOURCES

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:

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

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

CHILD CARE RELATED RESOURCES AND INFORMATION