The State Department of Social Services contracts with agencies throughout California to serve as a referral service to inform parents/guardians about child care options. In Mariposa and Tuolumne Counties, that agency is Infant Child Enrichment Services. In both counties, ICES maintains a database of licensed child care programs and license-exempt centers that contains child care information we use to provide child care referrals. ICES referral services are free and available Monday – Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm or upon request.
Choosing child care is parental choice. ICES staff do not endorse evaluate or recommend child care programs in our referral process. We emphasize that it is the parents and/or guardians responsibility to make a decision about which child care program they choose to enroll their child in. Our role is to assist them in finding the widest range of child care services available and provide them with information about quality child care indicators that support their choice.
ICES operates on a non-discriminatory basis and gives equal treatment and access of our services to parents and child care programs on an equitable basis without regard to race, color, creed, sex, religion, marital status, age, national origin or ancestry, economic status, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation or medical condition.
Any licensed family child care home, child care center or license-exempt center (as defined by Title 22 child care regulation), has the right to be listed in our service area databases with the exception of programs on conditional or probationary license status. Our agency respects the confidentiality of providers in our database as well as the parents who contact us requesting a child care referral. In order to give parents the widest range of child care services available, ICES strives to have accurate information in our database of every eligible child care program, but any licensed child care program can choose to opt out of being listed in our database.
In order to update our database, ICES attempts to contact all child care programs at least monthly and urges providers to contact us whenever they have an opening. ICES assumes no responsibility for filling provider’s child care openings. All persons in our database are not employees of ICES, they are self-employed child care business owners or independent contractors. Inclusion in our child care referral database does not imply or create an employer/employee relationship between any provider and ICES.
The principle goal of an ICES child care referral is that parents gain knowledge of child care options and that they are better equipped to interview and select a child care program for their child.
Step 1: Parents contact ICES: By telephone, in-person or website email. An ICES referral counselor then obtains information from the parent about the age(s) of child(ren) needing child care, the days and hours that care is needed and location or other preferences. We also collect parent contact information.
Step 2. ICES staff counsel parents: In order for parents to best evaluate and select a child care program that meets their child’s needs, ICES provides parents with educational literature, and discuss making a well-informed choice of child care. ICES encourages parents to schedule a visit with child care programs to interview and observe the child care environment as well as to discuss policies. During the referral, parents are told that information given about child care programs are not recommendations. We emphasize that it is the parents who are best able to evaluate and choose the right child care placement for their child(ren).
By State law, ICES is required to inform parents of their right to request to view any child care sites’ licensing reports regarding recent inspections. Parents are also told they have the right to contact Community Care Licensing to speak with a licensing officer to learn about the program’s compliance with child care regulation. All licensed child care program information is public information. Community Care Licensing phone number is toll-free 1 – 844-LET-USNO or 1-844-538-8766 . This information is given to parents with every child care referral.
3. Referring to child care programs: There are no eligibility requirements to receive child care referrals from ICES. ICES will always provide parents with at least four child care referrals but our goal is to give parents as many child care options as possible. Some providers whose names are given in the referral may have no current openings. We still encourage parents to contact and interview child care programs so they can decide whether to be placed on the child care programs “wait list”. It is a parent’s decision to contact as many or as few child care programs as they desire to interview.
Our staff is available to speak with parents either in person at our office or by telephone Monday – Friday between 8:30 am – 5:00 pm. In most cases, ICES will email parents the list of child care referrals from the My Child Care Plan database, but if parents prefer another method of receiving a child care referral, we will accommodate that request.
4. Child care payment assistance: Staff will inform parents about the California Alternative Payment Program (CAPP), which is a child care payment assistance program. For eligible families, they will receive a child care subsidy to pay full or partial child care costs to the parents’ chosen program. Parents eligible to participate in CAPP still choose child care for their children the same way as any other family receiving referrals from ICES. Parents can apply for assistance by submitting an application thorough our website www.icesagency.org or the parent can contact us so staff can send them an application. For questions, ICES staff can be reached via email at icesagency.org or by contacting our office at (209) 533-0377 during our business hours.
Remember – ICES is Here to Help!