Choosing Child Care and Preschool
|Choosing Child Care: What Are Your Options? |
Raising your child is the most important job you as a parent will ever have. Selecting a qualified child care provider is one of the most important decisions you will ever make.
Quality child care can be found in a variety of settings. The type of setting you choose should take into consideration your child's needs and your family's preferences. Read through the following discussion of child care options and/or download our latest Choosing Child Care Brochure for more information. We also offer a Spanish version of the brochure.
Family child care is provided in the private home of a licensed caregiver for up to 8 children with one adult or up to 14 children with one adult and one assistant provider. This arrangement tends to be less formal and usually models a family-oriented atmosphere.
Child care centers are licensed by the state of California to care for 12 or more children in a group setting. Centers are usually located in public and private schools, religious facilities, or buildings owned or leased by the provider.
In-home care refers to a person hired to come into your home to provide child care. This includes nannies and au pairs. Parents are considered employers of in-home care providers, and must follow State and Federal wage and tax laws (e.g., pay minimum wage) in paying them.
Exempt care means that the provider is not required to be licensed by the state of California. Home-based providers care for the children of one other family besides their own and may care for the children in their own home or in the other family's home.
Some after-school care, park and recreation programs, and teen parent programs are also license-exempt.
Parents choosing any of the options described above should consider visiting the Trustline Registry at www.trustline.org or by calling 1-800-822-8490 to obtain information or a background check on a potential provider.
Informal settings such as co-ops, mothers clubs, and playgroups are additional sources of child care.