How to Find Child Care

How to Find Child Care
Printable Version
*(PDF - 197 kB)

Many thanks to Julie Taren and the City of Santa Monica from which much of this information is borrowed
http://santa-monica.org/hsd/services/1ctfaskjulie.htm. Thanks to Nadiyah Taylor for compiling this piece.



I am looking for child care for my child. What types of child care options are available?

There are many different types of settings where your child may receive quality care and education.

Child Care Centers

Child care centers offer education and care for infants, toddlers and preschool-age (2-5 years), and school-age (5-12 years) children in a group setting. Child care centers may provide a full (usually between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm) or partial day (for example, between 9:00 am and 12:30 pm) program and children are generally grouped according to age or ability. Sometimes preschool or nursery school is used to refer to an early childhood program for groups of children generally beginning at 2 years old.

All child care centers in Alameda County are required by law to be licensed by the California Department of Social Services/Community Care Licensing Division. Community Care Licensing is responsible for enforcing minimum standards contained in Title 22, California Code of Regulations. Regulations for centers cover staff qualifications and ratios, building and playgrounds, health and safety standards, food services and many other aspects for operating. Parents are encouraged to check on the licensing status of a particular family child care home by calling Community Care Licensing at (510) 622-2602 or by going to the Community Care Licensing Division website.

Child care centers may be exempt from licensing by the California Department of Social Services/Community Care Licensing Division if the centers fall within Title 22, article 2, section 101158 of the child care licensing regulations. An example of a center that is exempted from licensing is: 1) any public recreation program that operates less than 16 hours per week and/or operates for a total of 12 weeks or less during a 12-month period. This total applies to any 12 weeks within any 12-month period, without regard to whether the weeks are consecutive; 2) a program provided to children under the age of four years and nine months with sessions that run 12 hours per week or less and are 12 weeks or less in duration. A program may permit children to be enrolled in consecutive sessions throughout the year. However, the program shall not permit children to be enrolled in a combination of sessions that total more than 12 hours per week for each session.

Child care centers may be accredited through various associations such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), or the National AfterSchool Association (NAA). Accreditation is a voluntary process designed to evaluate and improve the quality of child care by meeting and maintaining national standards established by early childhood development professionals.

Visit families.naeyc.org/find-quality-child-care to find out more about the NAEYC-accredited process and to find an accredited center in Alameda County.

Family Child Care Homes

Family child care providers offer education and care for infants, toddlers and preschool-age (2-5 years), and school-age (5-12 years) children in a group setting. Providers are licensed to provide care in their residence (owned or rented) and can be licensed as either a:

  • Small Family Child Care Home-for up to 6 children (with an additional 2 school-age children, under certain conditions), or
  • Large Family Child Care Home-for up to 12 children (with additional 2 school-age children), 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 Infant/Child First Aid & CPR. While there are no minimum educational units required, many family child care providers enroll in Early Childhood Education/Child Development classes or hold degrees in Early Childhood Education. Parents are encouraged to check on the licensing status of a particular family child care home by calling Community Care Licensing at (510) 622-2602 or by going to the Community Care Licensing Division website.

Many family child care homes are choosing to participate in a national accreditation process administered through the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC). The NAFCC accreditation process includes the completion of a self-evaluation study designed to assist family child care homes in meeting nationally recognized criteria for high quality in early childhood education. For more information on NAFCC accreditation, call (202) 347-3356.

In-Home Care

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. Your local child care resource and referral agency (BANANAS, 4C's, or Hively) may also have a listing of available in-home providers.

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 (except for grandparents, aunts and uncles) are required to obtain a TrustLine background clearance.

Community Care Licensing

The Community Care Licensing Division is the department for the state that oversees child care providers. The website has useful information for parents interested in locating child care or learning more about their rights as parents. Additionally, parents can use the website for a "facility search" at the following website: http://www.ccld.ca.gov/docs/ccld_search/ccld_search.aspx. This search will provide the names of licensed child care centers and large family child care homes, as well as the current status of the provider's license. Any unusual license status is shown in red. Contact Community Care Licensing at (510) 622-2602.

-- Back to Top --

I want to find a quality early care and education program for my child. Where do I start?

Finding quality care is going to take a little homework. Alameda County has three Resource and Referral agencies that can help you find a program that fits your family's needs. These programs help all parents, including parents of children with special needs, navigate the public and private early childhood and school age care system.

BANANAS - Serving Albany, Alameda, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, and Piedmont
5232 Claremont Avenue
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 658-0381
www.bananasbunch.org

4Cs of Alameda County - Oakland Office: Serving Oakland
8105 Edgewater Dr., Suite 270
Oakland, CA 94621
(510) 383-3582
Referral line: (510) 244-0506
www.4c-alameda.org

4Cs of Alameda County - Hayward Office: Serving San Lorenzo, San Leandro, Hayward, Fremont, Union City, Newark, Castro Valley
22351 City Center Drive, Suite 100
Hayward, CA 94541
(510) 582-2182
Referral line: (510) 244-0506
www.4c-alameda.org

Hively - East County
6601 Owens Drive, Suite 100
Pleasanton, CA 94588
(925) 417-8733
behively.org

Hively - South County
39155 Liberty St
Fremont, CA 94537
By Appointment Only
925-417-8733
behively.org

Hively - San Leandro Counseling Center
2208 San Leandro Blvd
San Leandro, CA 94578
510-483-6715
behively.org

Hively - North County
111 Myrtle Street, Suite 102
Oakland, CA 94607
510-568-0306
behively.org

Each of these agencies has helpful information and brochures on choosing quality care and education for your child. Also, the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies is the national network of more than 850 child care resource and referral centers (CCR&Rs) located in every state and most communities across the United States. Through their Child Care Aware, non-profit initiative, they have developed a series of publications containing important information for parents seeking child care. These resources address some of the following topics:

  • Matching Your Infant's or Toddler's Style to the Right Child Care Setting
  • Choosing Quality Child Care for a Child with Special Needs
  • Selecting a Quality After School Program for Your Child
  • Five Steps to Choosing Safe and Healthy Child Care

You can download these publications and more in English and Spanish by going to their web site: http://childcareaware.org/resources/printable-materials/

Another resource, offered by the Community for Accredited Online Schools, is tailored to meet the needs of families who are seeking child care resources on college campuses: https://www.accreditedschoolsonline.org/resources/colleges-offering-child-care/.The website also summarizes types of centers, finding the right one to match your needs, and financial assistance options.

-- Back to Top --

Developmental Milestones

Help Me Grow Alameda County collaborates with agencies, families, and providers across the country to help ensure children ages birth to 5 years old reach their optimal development. Access the Help Me Grow website for free support and resources.

-- Back to Top --

I need help paying for child care. What resources are available?

In Alameda County, there are several programs to assist your family. Each type of child care financial assistance has different qualifications such as income level, employment status, or residency. Please check with each program to see how you may qualify. Unfortunately there are often more families needing assistance than available funding.

Alternative Payment Programs

Alternative payment programs receive funding from the California Department of Education to assist eligible parents or caregivers to pay for child care, including after-school care, for children. There are eight such programs serving Alameda County. You can call any of these agencies to be added to their waiting list.

BANANAS - Serving Albany, Alameda, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, and Piedmont
5232 Claremont Avenue
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 658-7353
www.bananasbunch.org/

Davis Street Family Resource Center - Serving Castro Valley, Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Berkeley and Albany
3801 Teagarden Street
San Leandro, CA 94577
(510) 347-4620
davisstreet.org/index.php/childcare/childcare-development-centers/

Hively - East County
6601 Owens Drive, Suite 100
Pleasanton, CA 94588
(925) 417-8733
behively.org

Hively - South County
39155 Liberty St
Fremont, CA 94537
By Appointment Only
925-417-8733
behively.org

Hively - San Leandro Counseling Center
2208 San Leandro Blvd
San Leandro, CA 94578
510-483-6715
behively.org

Hively - North County
111 Myrtle Street, Suite 102
Oakland, CA 94607
510-568-0306
behively.org

4Cs of Alameda County - Oakland Office: Serving Oakland
8105 Edgewater Dr., Suite 270
Oakland, CA 94621
(510) 383-3582
Referral line: (510) 244-0506
www.4c-alameda.org

4Cs of Alameda County - Hayward Office: Serving San Lorenzo, San Leandro, Hayward, Fremont, Union City, Newark, Castro Valley
22351 City Center Drive, Suite 100
Hayward, CA 94541
(510) 582-2182
Referral line: (510) 244-0506
www.4c-alameda.org

-- Back to Top --

School Districts' Child Development Services

Through the California Department of Education, many school districts in Alameda County offer child development and school age services. Here is a list of the school district offices to contact for more information on the types of services offered and eligibility and payment information.

Alameda Unified School District
2060 Challenger Dr,
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 337-7000
https://www.alameda.k12.ca.us/

Albany Unified School District
819 Bancroft Way,
Berkeley, CA 94710
(510) 558-3750
https://www.ausdk12.org/

Berkeley Unified School District
2020 Bonar Street
Berkeley, CA 94702
(510) 644-6150
https://www.berkeleyschools.net/

Emery Unified School District
4727 San Pablo Avenue
Emeryville, CA 94608
(510) 601-4906
https://emeryusd.k12.ca.us/

Fremont Unified School District
4210 Technology Drive
Fremont, CA 94538
(510) 657-2350
https://www.fremont.k12.ca.us/

Hayward Unified School District
24411 Amador Street,
Hayward, CA 94544
(510) 784-2600
https://www.husd.us/

Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District
685 E. Jack London Blvd.
Livermore, CA 94551
(925) 606-3200

New Haven Unified School District
34200 Alvarado-Niles Road
Union City, CA 94587
(510) 471-1100
https://www.mynhusd.org/

Newark Unified School District
5715 Musick Avenue
Newark, CA 94560
(510) 818-4103
https://www.newarkunified.org/

Oakland Unified School District
1000 Broadway, Suite 300,
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 879-8200
https://www.ousd.org/

San Lorenzo Unified School District
P. O. Box 37
15510 Usher Street
San Lorenzo, CA 94580
(510) 317-4600
https://www.slzusd.org/

-- Back to Top --

State Funded Programs: State Preschool/State Child Development Centers:

State Preschool and CDC is publicly funded preschool through the California State Department of Education and is available to children from low-income families. State preschool is for children between the ages of three (3) and five (5) years old. In addition to child care and early learning programs, these half-day sessions also offer health care and parent training. Contact your local Resource & Referral agency for information on enrollment.

BANANAS - Serving Albany, Alameda, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, and Piedmont
5232 Claremont Avenue
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 658-0381
www.bananasinc.org

4Cs of Alameda County - Oakland Office: Serving Oakland
8105 Edgewater Dr., Suite 270
Oakland, CA 94621
(510) 383-3582
Referral line: (510) 244-0506
www.4c-alameda.org

4Cs of Alameda County - Hayward Office: Serving San Lorenzo, San Leandro, Hayward, Fremont, Union City, Newark, Castro Valley
22351 City Center Drive, Suite 100
Hayward, CA 94541
(510) 582-2182
Referral line: (510) 244-0506
www.4c-alameda.org

Hively - East County
6601 Owens Drive, Suite 100
Pleasanton, CA 94588
(925) 417-8733
https://behively.org/

Hively - South County
39155 Liberty St
Fremont, CA 94537
By Appointment Only
(925) 417-8733
https://behively.org/

Hively - San Leandro Counseling Center
2208 San Leandro Blvd
San Leandro, CA 94578
(510) 483-6715
https://behively.org/

Hively - North County
111 Myrtle Street, Suite 102
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 568-0306
https://behively.org/

Head Start and Early Head Start

Head Start (ages 2-1/2 to 5) and Early Head Start (ages 0-2-1/2) are federally funded full or part-day programs that provide free child care other services to help meet the health and school readiness of eligible children. Most, but not all families who access Head Start or Early Head Start must have incomes that meet federal poverty guidelines. There are six agencies that operate Head Start programs in Alameda County.

Alameda Family Services - Serving Alameda
2325 Clement Avenue, Suite A
Alameda, CA 94501
https://www.alamedafs.org/

Community Association for Preschool Education (CAPE) - Serving Dublin, Hayward, Livermore, Pleasanton, San Leandro and San Lorenzo
3037 Independence Dr., Suite A.
Livermore, CA 94551
(925) 443-3433
https://www.capeheadstart.org/

City of Oakland - Serving Oakland
Dept. of Human Services
150 Frank Ogawa Plaza, 4th Flr.
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 848-9622
https://www.oaklandca.gov/topics/head-start

Berkeley-Albany YMCA - Serving Albany, Berkeley, and Emeryville
2001 Allston Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 848-9622
https://ymcaeastbay.org/programs/children-and-teens/child-care/early-childhood-education

De Colores Head Start - Unity Council - Serving Oakland
1155 35th Avenue,
Oakland, CA 94601
(510) 535-6102
https://unitycouncil.org/program/headstart/

Kidango - Centers located in Oakland, Union City, Hayward, Fremont, San Leandro
44000 Old Warm Springs Blvd.
Fremont, CA 94538
(855) 757-5437
hello@kidango.org
https://www.kidango.org/

-- Back to Top --

I need to find an after-school program for my school-aged child. Where do I start?

The need for quality child care doesn't end once your child enters kindergarten; in fact it may be more difficult to find care because there are fewer choices than for preschool. Now that your child has started school, choosing a quality after-school care program can have a tremendous impact on academics, self-esteem and overall happiness and adjustment. So, what type of program is best for your child? Here is some information to consider when making this important decision.

Types of Programs

School-age child care includes almost any program that regularly enrolls children from kindergarten through early adolescence during the times when schools are traditionally closed including non-school days during the school year and the summer. These programs may be offered by schools, family day care providers, child care centers, private and public schools, recreation centers and youth-serving organizations. Sometimes known as extended day programs, before-and-after school programs provide enrichment, academic instruction, recreation and supervised care. An array of drop-in and part-time programs also serve an ad hoc child care function.

Licensing Requirements

The education requirement for a licensed program includes a teacher's aide or assistant who has six (6) units of early childhood education. A qualified teacher is required to have at least 12 units of early childhood education. School age child care can be found through local child care resource and referral agencies (see listing below), yellow pages, networking and newspaper ads. The Community Care Licensing Division of the California Department of Social Services has the responsibility for licensing Child Care facilities under the authority of the California Health and Safety Code and enforcing minimum standards contained in Title 22, California Code of Regulations. Many school-age programs are considered "recreational" and are not required to have a license. It is recommended that a prospective parent ask the program if they are licensed and the educational background of their staff.

Alameda County has a variety of options for school-aged children. For more information on selecting an after-school program, or for the names of programs in your area that provide school-age child care contact your child's' school, your local Parks& Recreation Department or one of the following Resource and Referral agencies:

BANANAS - Serving Albany, Alameda, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, and Piedmont
5232 Claremont Avenue
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 658-0381
www.bananasinc.org

4Cs of Alameda County - Oakland Office: Serving Oakland
8105 Edgewater Dr., Suite 270
Oakland, CA 94621
(510) 383-3582
Referral line: (510) 244-0506
www.4c-alameda.org

4Cs of Alameda County - Hayward Office: Serving San Lorenzo, San Leandro, Hayward, Fremont, Union City, Newark, Castro Valley
22351 City Center Drive, Suite 100
Hayward, CA 94541
(510) 582-2182
Referral line: (510) 244-0506
www.4c-alameda.org

Hively - East County
6601 Owens Drive, Suite 100
Pleasanton, CA 94588
(925) 417-8733
https://behively.org/

Hively - South County
39155 Liberty St
Fremont, CA 94537
By Appointment Only
925-417-8733
https://behively.org/

Hively - San Leandro Counseling Center
2208 San Leandro Blvd
San Leandro, CA 94578
510-483-6715
https://behively.org/

Hively - North County
111 Myrtle Street, Suite 102
Oakland, CA 94607
510-568-0306
https://behively.org/

-- Back to Top --

I want to start a child care business. Where do I begin?

Anyone who takes care of non-relative children for more than one family must have a license issued by the Community Care Licensing Division of the California Department of Social Services. If you are interested in opening your own child care business, please contact Community Care Licensing at (510) 622-2602, or one of the following child care resource and referral agencies listed below:

BANANAS - Serving Albany, Alameda, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, and Piedmont
5232 Claremont Avenue
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 658-0381
www.bananasinc.org

4Cs of Alameda County - Oakland Office: Serving Oakland
8105 Edgewater Dr., Suite 270
Oakland, CA 94621
(510) 383-3582
www.4c-alameda.org

4Cs of Alameda County - Hayward Office: Serving San Lorenzo, San Leandro, Hayward, Fremont, Union City, Newark, Castro Valley
22351 City Center Drive, Suite 100
Hayward, CA 94541
(510) 582-2182
www.4c-alameda.org

Hively - East County
6601 Owens Drive, Suite 100
Pleasanton, CA 94588
(925) 417-8733
https://behively.org/

Hively - South County
39155 Liberty St
Fremont, CA 94537
By Appointment Only
925-417-8733
https://behively.org/

Hively - San Leandro Counseling Center
2208 San Leandro Blvd
San Leandro, CA 94578
510-483-6715
https://behively.org/

Hively - North County
111 Myrtle Street, Suite 102
Oakland, CA 94607
510-568-0306
https://behively.org/

If you have any questions, please click here.

-- Back to Top --

* Portable Document Format (PDF) file requires the free Adobe Reader.

** To view Microsoft Office Word, Excel, or PowerPoint documents, you can download a free trial version of Office 365. Per Microsoft, you will be able to continue viewing files even after the trial has expired.