Child Care Options and Information

Family Child Care Homes
Programs which operate in the caregiver's own home and are regulated by the state. Some family child care providers include children as part of their extended family; others run their programs like a nursery school
which just happens to be a home setting. There are no educational requirements for obtaining a family child care license. However, all licensed providers are required to take a 15-hour child care health and safety course which includes CPR and first aid. They also need a fingerprint clearance and a TB test. Family child care providers come in a variety of sizes and age configurations:

Small family child care is licensed to care for six to eight children; different age configurations are allowed depending on the number and ages of children in care.

Large family child care is licensed to care for twelve to fourteen children; the provider must have a full-time assistant; different age configurations are allowed depending on the number of children in care.

Child Care Center (nursery school, preschool, etc.)
Programs licensed by the state to operate in non-home facilities. While they vary greatly, they generally have a curriculum and staff with educational backgrounds in early childhood development. In child care centers, most care is full time and hours are less flexible than in family child care. Many centers accept children after they are toilet-trained, but there are a growing number of centers which care for infants and/or toddlers.

In-home Caregivers (Nannies, Babysitters)
Caregivers who will come into your home to care for your children (formerly referred to as "babysitters"). Parents can check whether a child care provider has passed a background screening with the California Department of Justice by contacting TrustLine at 800-822-8490 or

Child care arrangements where several families get together to hire a caregiver to care for all the children in one (or more) of the parents' homes.


A way for children to meet and parents to get together or get some free time for work or play. Parents pool their resources and design their own group. A playgroup can meet five days a week or only one or two; it can have three children or eight; it can meet only part day or full time. It can be just for children in one neighborhood or for children of parents who travel from various parts of the city. In other words, it can be whatever you need it to be!

Similar to playgroups but with fewer people involved. They usually work one-to-one with no money and little organizing involved.

Babysitting Co-ops
Similar to playgroups and exchanges, co-ops generally involve more families. Typically, a group of families will get together and ''ask'' one family to be the organizer for a certain amount of time. This job usually rotates. The organizer keeps track of who needs care when and who is available to sit at what times and then arranges the care requested. Or, sometimes, the members arrange their own exchanges and then inform the bookkeeper. Usually the time and place for the care are flexible. There are a number of established co-ops in our area which parents can join. If an existing one isn't right for your needs or schedule, with a little initiative other parents can be found to form a new co-op.

Child Care Referral Phone Line
If you need help locating traditional child care try giving our Child Care Referral Phone Line a call at 510.658.0381. The Child Care Referral Line is open:

Monday through Thursday from 9:30 am - 4:15 pm
Friday from 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

We offer our services in many languages including:

Vietnamese -
Thai -
Mien -
French -
English -
Chinese -
Amharic -
Spanish -
Laotian -