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Child Care Options

Searching for child care during the COVID-19 pandemic may feel daunting, especially in light of the potential exposure risk to the virus. Child care options at this time may be limited particularly in group care settings that are commonly offered by a child care center and/or family child care home.

If your family needs child care, plan to devote time and energy to research options, interview child care providers and programs that are available, and make decisions based on what is best for your family. We have created this resource to help you review the type of care that may be available and the considerations you may need to make for each type of care.

Child Care Options & Considerations

What? Where to look for this kind of care? Things to know COVID-19 considerations
Child Care Centers are regulated and licensed by the state and operate in non-home settings. They are licensed by the Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division to serve specific age groups which could include infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children. Children are cared for in age groups in age appropriate classrooms (because of COVID-19, this regulation may have been relaxed by the state.) The My Child Care website was developed by the state to help families locate child care that is currently open. The Child Care Resources and Referral Network offers comprehensive information to license child care in the state of California. To find care or child care specific COVID-19 information for another state, visit Child Care Aware of America. Staffed by individuals with early educational units. At least one person on site has 16 hours of health and safety training. The child care center's license capacity is determined by the square footage of the site. Each program offers fixed business hours of operation with rare flexibility for evening or weekend care. Child care operations have changed to integrate additional health and safety practices. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issues guidance for child care programs, the Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division is the regulatory agency for child care. Child care programs adhere to licensing regulations such as limitations on the number of children in the classroom, how to staff classrooms, protocol for arrival and departure, use of face coverings, etc.

 

What? Where to look for this kind of care? Things to know COVID-19 considerations
Family Child Care Homes are regulated and licensed by the state and operate in a child care provider's home. Most FCC programs provide child care for mixed-age groups which could include a combination of infants, toddlers, preschool, and school-age children. The My Child Care website was developed by the state to help families locate child care that is currently open. The Child Care Resources and Referral Network offers comprehensive information to license child care in the state of California. To find care or child care specific COVID-19 information for another state, visit Child Care Aware of America. Family child care home providers are not required to have any formal education and are mandated to take 16 hours of health and safety training. Providers and anyone living in the home over the age of 18 need a fingerprint clearance and TB test. Small family child care homes provide care for up to 8 children; large family child care homes provide care for up to 14 children. They may provide flexibility with child care into the evening and weekend hours as family child care home providers own their own business within their home and establish their own business hours. Operations have changed to integrate additional health and safety practices. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issues guidance for child care programs, the Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division is the regulatory agency for child care. Child care programs adhere to licensing regulations such as limitations on the number of children in the classroom, how to staff classrooms, protocol for arrival and departure, use of face coverings, etc.
What? Where to look for this kind of care? Things to know COVID-19 considerations
Provider's travel to a family's home to care for the child(ren) who live in that home. Caregivers, commonly referred to as nannies and/or babysitters, usually care for children over a consistent time frame, working multiple days a week. These caregiver arrangements may be provided by college students and/or experienced nannies and babysitters. Caregivers could care for the children of one family, and they can also be shared by two families (referred to as shared care). You may actively pursue an in-home caregiver by visiting websites that complie in-home job seekers or you can seek to get info from available email lists. Sittercity offered through Bright Horizons Additional Family Supports offer a database of job seekers. You may also subscribe to ParentNet and/or Stanford Staffers email list(s) and leverage email postings. NextDoor is a neighborhood based website/app that helps you connect to your neighbors. Become knowledgeable of your obligations as a "household employer." As an employer, you will need to comply with local, state, and federal regulations as part of the employment agreement you reach with your provider. This type of care provides flexibility for the hours of care needed depending on your schedule. If you are considering taking your child to be cared for in the home of the caregiver, make sure they are not liable for obtaining a child care license. Talk to your provider about the safeguards you have in place for your family to reduce your exposure to COVID-19 and align that with your in-home provider's daily practice. Consider using the CDC Self-Checker tool to assess your daily symptoms prior to the child care start time. This tool helps assess for symptoms related to COVID-19 and could be a way to gauge whether your in-home provider and your family is symptom free. Consider your level of comfort with creating a contained "shared child care group," a co-mingling of two households to create stable childcare.

 

What? Where to look for this kind of care? Things to know COVID-19 considerations
This is a common child care arrangement where two families join to share an in-home caregiver. The provider can be shared on the same days/times or on different days/times of the week. Families decide on which home will be used for care on the days where care for both families lands on the same day. You may actively pursue an in-home caregiver by visiting websites that complie in-home job seekers or you can seek to get info from available email lists. Sittercity offered through Bright Horizons Additional Family Supports offer a database of job seekers. You may also subscribe to ParentNet and/or Stanford Staffers email list(s) and leverage email postings. NextDoor is a neighborhood based website/app that helps you connect to your neighbors. Become knowledgeable of your obligations as a "household employer." As an employer, you will need to comply with local, state, and federal regulations as part of the employment agreement you reach with your provider. This type of care provides flexibility for the hours of care needed depending on your schedule. If you are considering taking your child to be cared for in the home of the caregiver, make sure they are not liable for obtaining a child care license. Talk to your provider about the safeguards you have in place for your family to reduce your exposure to COVID-19 and align that with your in-home provider's daily practice. Consider using the CDC Self-Checker tool to assess your daily symptoms prior to the child care start time. This tool helps assess for symptoms related to COVID-19 and could be a way to gauge whether your in-home provider and your family is symptom free. Consider your level of comfort with creating a contained "shared child care group," a co-mingling of two households to create stable childcare.

 

What? Where to look for this kind of care? Things to know COVID-19 considerations
If you are working from home, consider keeping your child at home. Consider planning for care for your child around your work schedule and partner with your manager to determine what could work for your family and the needs of your work group. This may mean hiring part-time help from an in-home provider or a virtual caregiver to help cover the work days filled with more meetings or deadlines, or for the days when you know you will need to devote time to a project. You may actively pursue an in-home caregiver by visiting websites that complie in-home job seekers or you can seek to get info from available email lists. Sittercity offered through Bright Horizons Additional Family Supports offer a database of job seekers. You may also subscribe to ParentNet and/or Stanford Staffers email list(s) and leverage email postings. NextDoor is a neighborhood based website/app that helps you connect to your neighbors. There are many online resources to help you plan your day. As much as possible, consider integrating a practice for self-care routine that allows you to take breaks. Consider scheduling tips that will work for your family. If there is a second parenting partner at home, consider working them into the care schedule and together, determine household family responsibilities. Talk to your manager about your situation and together, brainstorm ways and times for you to be online working given this very different situation. That may include logging on/off at multiple times during the day (e.g. logging on early in the morning, during a child's nap time, and later in the evening and logging off while your child is alert and needing you to feed them or engage with your child), it may include shifting work days/hours to non-traditional days/times depending on your unique circumstances.

Hiring an In-Home Care Provider

Hiring a nanny or sitter to care for your child in your home during the pandemic is a personal decision. Are you ready to expand your family circle? How will you screen your care provider? These are all good questions to consider in your search. Review the resources available to assist you with your search.

Additional Child Care Resources and Support 

Important information about your benefits: As part of Stanford University's employee benefit programs, you have access to certain resources which you may use to find care and other service providers meeting your unique needs and budget. Your use of these services is at your sole risk. You are responsible for the care/services you arrange, including the quality and the cost of the care/services, and for conducting any desired criminal records checks or other screening on any potential providers. Stanford University does not employ, recommend, endorse or screen any providers. Stanford University makes no representations or warranties about the quality of the care or other services provided by the providers or other third parties or about your interactions or dealings with any such parties.