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Child Care Choices

Child Care Centers: State-licensed programs such as: Nursery Schools, Preschools and after-school programs vary greatly. They all operate in non-home settings and the majority of them include a curriculum and are staffed by individuals with educational backgrounds in early childhood development. There are requirements (education and health & safety training) for site directors and teaching staff (requirements vary with level of responsibility).


Family Child Care Homes: Large and Small

These state-licensed child cares operate in a provider’s home. Some function like nursery school programs while others welcome children into a home as part of the family. Family child care providers are not required to have any formal education. They are mandated to take 16 hours of health and safety training, which is divided into 8 hours of CPR/First Aid/AED and 8 hours of Preventive Health education. Providers need a fingerprint clearance and a TB test.

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 and are required to hire a full-time assistant.


Parents have the right to get information about any substantiated or inconclusive complaints about any licensed child care provider by calling the California Department of Social Services at 844.538.8766. You can also perform a facility search on their website. This site contains five years’ worth of information on child care programs including inspection reports. Never rely on this information alone to make a decision about a facility. Always visit facilities in person to ensure that it meets your family’s needs.


In-Home Caregivers: Nannies and Babysitters

This type of child care is offered by providers who travel to a family’s home to care for the children who live there. Nannies tend to care for children on an ongoing basis, working multiple days a week, and stays with the child from infancy until their transition into kindergarten. In some instances, a nanny may live in a family’s home for room and board plus a salary. Babysitters typically provide care as needed.


TrustLine - an invaluable resource for parents.

TrustLine is a database of nannies and baby-sitters that have cleared criminal background checks in California. It’s the only authorized screening program of in-home caregivers in the state with access to fingerprint records at the California Department of Justice and the FBI. That’s what makes TrustLine unique.


In-home caregivers are not regulated or licensed by the state. Parents are encouraged to check for background screenings by calling TrustLine at 800.822.8490 or going to It’s easy to use and effective.

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