For Parents

What are Your Choices?

Child Care Centers
Child Care Centers provide care for groups of children in non-residential settings. They may be housed in a school, church, commercial buildings, or community centers. Centers are sometimes referred to as nursery schools, preschools, Head Start programs, and daycare. Centers provide non-medical care and supervision to infants, toddlers, preschoolers and/or school age children for periods of less than 24 hours. They are licensed by the the state of California.

Most centers prefer regular, full-time, enrollment. There is no sick care for children. The program is more structured, with 12 or more children.

In Santa Barbara County there are just a few centers that will accept infants. Parents are placed on waiting lists. Call Resource & Referal for a list of these centers in Santa Barbara 805. 963.6631, or Santa Maria 805.925.1989.

Family Child Care Homes
Family child care is provided in the home of the caregiver. They are either licensed or exempt from licensing. Family child care providers care for up to 14 children or fewer in a family-oriented atmosphere for less than 24 hours.

Licensed Care
A Family Child Care Home may be licensed as a small family child care, 6 to 8 children, or a large family child care with 12 to 14 children. They are licensed by the Community Care Licensing Division of the state. All adults living in the home must be fingerprinted and pass a criminal record clearance and be free of Tuberculosis.

You may call the Community Care Licensing Division at 805.562.0400 to see if the licensed family child care provider or center has had complaints filed against them.
Community Care License Division

License Exempt Care
Exempt care means that the provider is not required to be licensed by the state of California. A child care provider is exempt from licensing if they care for the children of one family other than his/her own children. Exempt care also includes nannies, au pairs, family and friends. Parents choosing exempt care should consider doing a background check with the Trustline Registry at 1.800.822.8490.

In-Home Child Care
Many parents prefer to have their children cared for in their own home. Two sources of in-home care are nannies and au pairs. A nanny is a person who is employed by the family to provide care in the child’s home. They may live in the home or elsewhere. An au pair is a foreign national who comes to this country to experience American life for up to one year. Call us for a listing of nanny/au pair agencies in our area.  

Family Child Care Steps to Quality Program
Another child care option Parents may choose is a participant or member of “Family Child Care Steps to Quality” Program.

This new project has been designed to support a provider’s commitment in creating a high quality program; the highest standard being an accredited child care program.  Accreditation is an on-going process and a status.  As a process, providers continually apply for and meet the level of excellence a national accreditation support agency sets and then maintains that high standard.  As a status, accreditation tells others that these providers have reached the highest level of distinction in the country. The program focuses on four elements of success: education of the provider; high quality environments; strong business practices and planning; and the development and maintenance of positive relationships with both children and their parents.

Parents can expect from accredited providers to receive:
• Dedication to outstanding ranking on their program and superb interactions with Parents and Children
• Continuing self-assessment and improvement
• Outstanding business practices

Accredited Programs in Santa Barbara County:
Lourena Beale, "Skip to My Lou's Family Preschool" - Santa Maria, CA
Blanca Cardoso, "Cardoso Family Child Care" - Santa Maria, CA
Pomposa Cendejas, "Cendejas Family Day Care" - Santa Maria, CA
Maria Del Rocio Cortez, "Cortez Family Child Care" - Santa Maria, CA
Maria Raquel Gomez, "Gomez Family Child Care" - Santa Maria, CA
Blanche Holford, "Holford's Lil Jungle" - Santa Maria
Graciela Lundin, "Lundin Family Child Care" - Santa Maria, CA
Maria Mendez, "Mendez Family Child Care" - Santa Maria, CA
Maria Perez, "Perez Family Child Care" - Santa Maria, CA
Guadalupe Ponce, "Ponce's Day Care" - Santa Maria, CA
Ana Maria Santiago, "Santiago's Family Child Care" - Santa Barbara, CA
Maria Saucedo, "Saucedo Family Child Care" - Santa Maria, CA
Maria Ubias, "Ubias' Family  Day Care" - Santa Maria, CA
Esperanza Vieyra, "Esperanza's Day Care" - Santa Maria, CA

Quality Rating Improvement System / Family Child Care Steps to Quality

Josefina Aguayo
Lourena Beale
Blanca Cardoso
Julia Carpenter
Carmen Cavani
Pomposa Cendejas
Juana Cortes
Maria Del Rocio Cortez
Maria Arechiga de Felix
Candice Delgado
Christine Fleenor
Gabriela Gallegos
Graciela Garcia
Maria Raquel Gomez
Martha Leticia Gomez
Blanche Denise Holford
Shelly Kowalewski
Berta Lopez
Graciela Lundin
Maria Mendez
Josefina Paz
Laurel Penk
Maria I. Perez
Guadalupe Ponce
Priscila Rivera
Sylvia Rodriguez
Hilda Sanroman
Ana Maria Santiago
Maria Saucedo
Maria Luisa Ubias
Esperanza Vieyra

Both family child care home providers and child care centers can be accredited by professional associations. In order to become accredited, homes and centers must meet certain standards in addition to basic licensing requirements. While accreditation can be an indicator of quality, the fact that a child care site is accredited does not guarantee quality.

National organizations providing accreditation:

National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC). Call 800.359.3817
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Call 800.424.2460
American Montessori Society. Call 212.358.1250
Association Montessori International, USA. Call 716.461.5920
Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). Call 916.424.2460
National Early Childhood Program. Call 800.505.9878
Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE). Call 213.663.5330