The California Department of Education, Early Learning and Care Division, offers a free resource guide, Care About Quality: Your Guide to Child Care, with information on quality early learning and care and things to consider when choosing an environment that is right for you and your child(ren).
The California Child Care Resource & Referral Network offers free resources and key information. A key information and resource is TrustLine, which is a registry parents can use to help them select an in-home or home care provider for their children. All early learning and care professionals listed with TrustLine have passed a background screening. For more information about TrustLine, visit www.trustline.org, or call 1.800.822.8490.
Quality Counts California offers a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) resource for parents on what a quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) is and its importance in your child care search. A reminder: The FAQ document is available via the Collaboration in Common link given above; once in this digital library, you can see the PDF file in your browser for download or print.
Useful definitions to remember when looking for child care
Family Child Care Homes This type of early learning and care program is offered in the home of the provider, who is often a parent, the owner, and licensed by the state. A family child care professional often cares for children of different ages. The number of children a family child care provider can care for at one time varies depending on the ages of the children and the presence of an assistant or a second professional.
Center-based Programs This type of early learning and care program is often a facility that serves infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children on a part-day or full-day schedule. These centers are sometimes called “preschool programs” that are licensed by the state and include teachers with higher education in child development. Centers vary in size but are usually larger than family child care homes. Centers can be operated independently, by a church, elementary school site, or other organization. Family, Friend, and Neighbor Care This type of early learning and care setting is typically provided by a family member, friend, neighbor, relative, babysitter, or a nanny in the child’s home on a part-day or full-day schedule. Child care can be provided for children from only one family in addition to the provider’s own family. This type of environment is not licensed.