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For Parents

Welcome Parents!

Welcome to Children's Resource & Referral of Santa Barbara County's website, a resource for all your child care questions and needs. Resource & Referral is your primary source of information and support to help you make your selection of child care a smooth process.

Find Child Care Here

Click here to find childcare.

Choosing Quality Child Care

We know that working parents want only the best for their children. Child care can be one of the greatest challenges that you will have in raising your child. We know that you want your children to be safe and have fun while they learn at their child care. Nothing is worst than worrying about your child when you are at your job.

At Children's Resource & Referral, we can help guide you through the challenge of finding a child care arrangement that best suits your needs. We can explain the state licensing regulations, tell you about indicators of quality care and answers your many questions and concerns about child care. Download the Child Care Check List and take it with you when you visit child care providers and facilities. You may contact us directly by telephone or find child care through our online referral service.

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 

Finding Child Care for Children with Special Needs

Finding a child care program for a child with special needs may take extra time and patience. You might start by calling the state and national agencies responsible for children with special needs to receive local contacts. You can also contact your local school district and early intervention program for resources and assistance. Of course, other families with children with special needs can be a great help to you. Resource & Referral can help you locate a child care provider that has experience and training in Special Needs care. Finally, remember that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibit child care providers from denying services to any child with a disability.

 Inclusive Child Care Action Team (ICCAT)

Financial Assistance to Pay for Child Care


Funded by the State of California, Alternative Payment Program (APP) reimburses the child care costs for parents while they are engaged in a qualifying activity such as; work, school, job seeking or other approved activity identified in the California Education Code.


APP Stage 2 begins when the parent’s employment and child care arrangements are "stable".  Families may remain in this stage for up to 24 months after they stop receiving CalWORKs cash assistance or when a family receives a CalWORKs diversion from (DSS) Department of Social Services.

APP Stage 3 begins after the 24 months on Stage 2 has ended.

For more information click here.

Employer Sponsored Referrals

If your employer has contracted with us for Enhanced Referral Services and has authorized you to participate please complete print and complete the following information form and fax it to 805.925.2084.

Child Care Referrals

Referral Counselors in our Santa Barbara and Santa Maria offices are ready to give you assistance in locating a child care provider that meets the unique needs of your child and family. We maintain an up-to-date listing of licensed child care providers in Santa Barbara County. Referrals are free and available to all parents.

Referral Counselors can help you decide what type of care is best for your child; give you information about what to look for and what questions to ask when visiting a potential child care provider. Parents can call directly or visit our office in person, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for referrals.

Child care providers referred are selected by matching the parent’s needs to the providers who can meet that need and type of care preferred by the parent. Referrals are not to be confused with recommendations. The Children’s Resource and Referral Program believes that the parent is the best person to choose the child care that meets their family’s needs.

For Referrals Call

Santa Barbara:
Monday – Friday
8:00 am. – 5:00 pm.

Santa Maria:
Monday – Friday
8:00 am. - 5:00 pm.

To view our Referral Policy click here.

California Child Care Resource & Referral Network

Child Development Lending Library

The Child Development Lending Library is open daily in both the Santa Maria and Santa Barbara office locations. This is a no-cost library, filled with many educational toys, books, videos, and instructional materials that can be borrowed for two weeks at a time. Additionally, we have a laminator and die cut machine available for use. To be a member of the Child Development Lending Library, you must complete a Library Contract.

For images of the Child Development Lending Library click here.


Because there are no state or national regulations or standards for in-home care, careful recruiting, interviewing, and reference checks on your part are essential. You can provide your own background check through a statewide program called TrustLine. TrustLine checks for criminal convictions and substantiated child abuse reports. A parent can find out if someone is listed in the registry by calling 800.822.8490 and giving the caregiver’s full name and driver’s license number. Visit the TrustLine website.

The TrustLine Registry is a database of nannies and babysitters that have cleared criminal background checks. It is the only screening program for in-home caregivers in the state. If you would like your caregiver to be screened through TrustLine, we can assist you. You can also call 1.800.822.8490 to see if your caregiver is already registered with TrustLine.

Referral and Complaint Policy

Referral Policy
Child care resource and referral services (R&R) shall be provided to all persons requesting them. Services are available free of charge regardless of income eligibility requirements, race, color, national origin, religion, marital status, sex, handicap, sexual orientation or political affiliation.

The R&R provides accurate, comprehensive informaton on child care options to ensure parents are able to choose the child care setting best suited to their family's needs. The information and referral process is based on respecting parental choice. We do not evalutate child care situations or recommend specific programs. The selection of the child care caregiver is each parent's responsibility. We are not a regulatory of licensing agency.
Information obtained from a family will be kept confidential and restricted to purposes directly related to the administration of the program.
Telephone and walk-in referrals are available M-F; 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Complaint Policy
Whenever a complaint regarding physical or emotional endangerment to the health and safety of a child is received, the R&R must follow a detailed complaint procedure.
For minor complaints, callers are encouraged to discuss the issue directly with the caregiver. Depending on the nature of the problem, we will consult the caller about options, resolutions, and/or suggestions. Serious complaints are regarded as licensing violations. The caller will be given information on how to report to the appropriate agency. We will conduct a follow-up report within 24 hours, but confidentiality will be maintained for the complaint.
Depending on the nature and disposition of the complaint, referrals to the caregiver may be temporarily or permanently suspended. A copy of the complete Referral and Complaint Policies is available upon request.

Alternative Payment Program

The Alternative Payment Program is a subsidized child care Program that serves low-income families who are employed, seeking employment, participating in a job training or education program. Children who are “subjected to” or “at risk of” abuse, neglect, or exploitation may also be eligible with a referral from a legally qualified professional from a medical or social services agency, or an emergency shelter. Parents who are incapacitated and families that are homeless may also be eligible. Child Protective Services and “At Risk” families shall be served first.

Eligibility and Need requirements

This program requires that families meet income and need requirements. Parents must live and/or work in Santa Barbara County and have a street address/or Post office address. Parens must submit verification of income for eligibility. Parents participating in an educational or job training program are required to supply verification of education or training schedules for eligibility.

E-List Application
List of Subsidized Programs
The CalWORKs Stage 2 Program Provides child care services to families who the Department of Social Services have determined are in a stable “approved work activity” and are transitioning off of cash aid. Families must meet eligibility, income and need requirements. Parents must live and or work in Santa Barbara County. Parents must provide evidence of street or post office address.
Parents must have received cash-aid assistance within the last 24 months and must be referred by the Department of Social Services to qualify for CalWORKs Stage 2 child care. Families who have received a Diversion Payment from the Department of Social services may also be eligible.

Stage 2 Application
The CalWORKs Stage 3 Program provides child care services to families whose 24 month clock has ended in Stage 2. Parents must be participating in a CalWORKs “approved work activity” to qualify for Stage 3 services. Families must meet eligibility, income and need requirements. Parents must live and/or work in Santa Barbara County. Parents must provide evidence of street or post office address and income verification. Families must be enrolled in the Stage 2 Program in order to move to the Stage 3.

Parent/Provider Handbook
Addendum - 12016
Addendum - 22016

Child Attendance Records
Due Dates

Our office are located in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria at the following addresses:

Santa Maria
705 E. Main Street, Ste. 103
Santa Maria, CA 93454

Santa Barbara
4141 State Street, Ste. D-1.4
Santa Barbara, CA 93110

Pay Family Fees Here

Click here to pay your family fee.