What Types of Child Care and Preschool are Available
Child Care & Preschool Centers
Child care centers are group education and care settings for infants,
toddlers, preschool-age (2-5 years), and school-age (5-12
years) children. Most provide services weekdays between around
7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., though many preschool programs operate
part-day and/or part-week sessions. They are usually located
in school or church rooms, community centers, or commercial
buildings. They are required to be licensed by California
Department of Social Services, Community
Care Licensing, under Title 22 Regulations, though certain
programs are license-exempt. Regulations for centers cover
staff qualifications and ratios, building and playgrounds,
health and safety standards, food services and many other
Referrals to child care/preschool programs in other communities
in San Mateo County can be obtained from the Child Care Coordinating
Council: 650-517-1460 (para Espanol 517-1461).
Family Child Care Homes
Family child care homes are operated by individuals who are licensed,
by Community Care Licensing, to provide care in their residence
(owned or rented). Family child care is licensed as either:
- Small Family Child Care Home--for up to 6 children (with an
additional 2 school-age, under certain conditions), or
- Large Family Child Care Home—for up to 12 children (with
additional 2 school-age), with an assistant present.
The home is inspected for health and safety standards, and all
adults living in the home must obtain background and TB clearances.
Family child care providers must complete 15 hours of health training,
including Pediatric First Aid & CPR. No college education is
required, but many family child care providers enroll in Early
Childhood Education/Child Development classes and some have college degrees.
Read more about this important option for families!
Contact the Child Care Coordinating Council: 650-517-1460 for referrals
to licensed Family Child Care Homes in San Mateo County.
You may hire someone (babysitter, nanny, au pair) to care for your
child in your home. You set the hours, responsibilities, rules and
pay. In-home providers can be located through nanny/employment agencies,
newspaper ads, local parent magazines, etc. There is no training
or licensing of such caregivers, though ‘nanny schools’ exist in some areas. Caregivers should at least receive training
in Infant/Child First Aid and CPR, available through many hospitals,
Red Cross, etc. It is recommended that, for the safety of your child,
you obtain a TrustLine fingerprint clearance for the person, which
is a background check through State and FBI criminal records and
State Child Abuse Index. Contact the TrustLine Registry for information:
1-800-822-8490 or www.trustline.org . Information on employers’ responsibilities regarding in-home
care providers (taxes, etc.) is available from the Child Care Coordinating Council:
Relatives and Other Caregivers
You may hire a relative or other person to provide child care either
in their home or yours. These arrangements can be of equal or lower
cost, or free. (Note that caregivers providing care to non-relative
children from more than one family, other than their own, are required
to be licensed.) There are no State requirements for training. The
recommendations above regarding TrustLine clearance and First Aid/CPR
training apply here. License-exempt caregivers who are paid through
public subsidy funds are often required to obtain a TrustLine background
For more information about child care/early education, see Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Parents.