What to Consider When Searching for Child Care

Licensed child care is regulated by Title 22 of the California Health and Safety Code to protect the health and safety of children in child care. Community Care Licensing Division (CCLD) is the California State agency responsible for inspection and monitoring two types of licensed child care programs: in‐home family style settings and center facilities.

Health and Safety Code mandates that:

  • All adults working with children in a child care center or living in the family child care home setting pass a criminal background check and be free of tuberculosis.
  • The in‐home licensee and at least one person on site at the child care center complete 16 hours of health and safety training, including preventative health, CPR, and pediatric first aid.
  • Child care center staff has completed college courses in child development. Licensed family child care providers are not required to take college courses in child development; however, some voluntarily do.
  • Adult‐to‐child ratios do not exceed child care regulations.
  • The program meets building, fire, and zoning codes according to facility type.

The complaint and violation record of a licensed child care facility is public. Information can be accessed by contacting CCLD at 1‐844‐538‐8766 or by visiting their website: Community Care Licensing. License‐Exempt Child Care is care provided by family, friends, or neighbors (FFN) for the children of one family that may be provided in a variety of ways:

  • In the FFN’s home
  • In the parent’s home
  • In a school‐based child care program
  • In a youth recreation program


Health and Safety Code does not apply to license‐exempt child care, but caregivers can be registered with Trustline, the Caregiver Background Check Bureau. The registry is done by submitting fingerprints so that background checks are conducted to clear the individual from disqualifying criminal convictions.

The “Next Steps” to Finding Child Care

ICES may have recently provided you with referrals to childcare programs. We would like to offer you a friendly reminder to follow these “Next Steps” in finding child care:

Next Steps

1. Prescreen programs by contacting them to learn if their openings meet your schedule, child care cost is affordable, etc., and if desired make an appointment to visit/interview them.

2. Determine the questions you want to ask the providers/programs during an interview that will help you decide if the program would be the right fit for your child and your family.

3. Get references from other parents – ask the programs for parent names and contact information to learn about their experiences and satisfaction.

4. Contact Community Care Licensing Division to learn about the program’s licensing records.

5. Schedule a follow‐up visit and/or contact the program to enroll and obtain paperwork.

6. Complete and submit the necessary paperwork to enroll your child into the program.

Checking Parent References – Questions to Ask Parents During a Reference Call

  • How long ago was your child in care there?
  • How long did you use this provider/program?
  • Did they meet your expectations?
  • What did you like best about the child care provider/program?
  • What did you like the least?
  • How was communication, were you able to discuss and work out conflicts?
  • Did the program provide activities that supported your child’s learning and development?

Your Child’s First Day at Child Care

  • Pack items needed ahead of time so you are not rushed and stressed.
  • Discuss what’s going to happen that day and when you will be back.
  • Be positive and upbeat; show that you trust the provider.
  • Assure your child that they are going to be well cared for.

Child Care Plan

Why plan ahead for future child care arrangements? There are various reasons why creating a future “child care plan” can be helpful. Maybe you would prefer to have your child care location closer to your home or work. Maybe “down the road” there will be a new schedule of when care is needed. Whatever the case may be, it is worth planning ahead. ICES Child Care Referral Counselors are available to discuss child care options and can help you plan ahead for child care. Our services are free and available to all families Monday – Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm.

3 Comments. Leave new

  • I liked that you said that you could ask a child care facility for references that you can contact. As you said, this will allow you to know the experiences of other parents. My sister will surely find this tip helpful because she is planning to find a reliable infant care facility for her 9-month-old daughter. She mentioned that she needed to get back to work in order to support her family’s needs, and it is crucial for her to ensure that her daughter is going to be in good hands while she is away.

  • Hello. Next year, my cousin’s daughter would turn five and he believes it’s about time he sends her to a kindergarten quickly. I do agree with you about the need for parents to determine whether a daycare facility implements thorough security measures and cleanliness protocols to ensure the well-being of our kids. I’ll share this crucial info with him so he could choose the right place afterward.

  • It’s great to know that child care center staff have completed college courses in child development and there are those that are also licensed at the same time, although they are not that required. In that case, I should probably look for a facility that prioritizes hiring professionals who are actually licensed. It will give me the assurance that I can entrust my daughter to them in order to help her develop can be prepared for formal schooling.


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