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Starting education early
Wu Yee Children's Services offers child care and support for families throughout San Francisco. We provide Head Start and Early Head Start programs at our child development centers (CDCs) and through family child care (FCC) homes. Our Home Based services assist pregnant mothers and families with infants. We also provide families with free personal assistance to find the child care that best fits their needs through our Resource and Referral services.
Looking for child care can be an overwhelming process, and we are committed to helping families, no matter their situation.
How to look for child care
When choosing child care there are many things to consider. What are your needs? What kind of programs are you interested in? When will you need care for your child?
Steps to take in finding quality care:
- Determine your child care needs.
- Contact a child care Resource and Referral agency for information and a list of child care providers that fit your needs.
- Call to set up appointments with child care providers.
- Talk to the child care center directors or family child care providers about what services they offer - things like licensing, teacher-to-child ratios, curriculum, philosophy, events, meals, playtime and more.
- Tour the sites, and take the opportunity to watch teacher-child interactions.
- Select a program.
- Be sure to continue talking to the teachers and directors.
Types of child care
Child care centers
Child care centers are focused on education and development for young children and may offer:
- Infant/toddler programs (ages 6 weeks to 2.9 years)
- Preschool programs (ages 3-5)
- School-age programs (ages 5-11)
- Before and after school programs (school-aged children)
Child care centers are licensed and must meet California’s education requirements. They have larger classrooms and designated outdoor play areas. They can be part- or full-time, and most centers have set hours.
The adult-to-child ratios vary, depending on age groups and type of program. Child care centers can be privately operated (by an individual, chain, or co-op), publicly operated (public schools, government agencies), or operated by nonprofit agencies.
Family child care
Family child care (FCC) providers are licensed and regulated by the State of California and work with children in their homes. FCC care hours are generally more flexible than centers.
A family child care home is not required to have outdoor play areas, though many do. The adult-to-child ratio for an FCC home depends on the age group of the children and licensing restrictions.
Personal child care
Personal child care takes place in your child's home or in a caregiver's home. It's defined as care that is provided by family members, relatives, friends, neighbors, professional nannies and/or babysitters.
Personal caregivers are not required to be licensed or regulated by the State of California and may only care for their own children plus the children of one additional family.
Enrichment programs are offered in addition to child care or school settings and are usually educational or skill-based activities, such as summer camps, after school classes, tutoring or sports.
Enrichment programs may be seasonal or year-round and usually require fees.. Licensing by the State of California varies.
Sick-child care, back-up and emergency care
“Sick-child care” programs are alternative child care settings for children who are not able to attend regular child care or school due to mild illness.
These programs follow special health and safety regulations and care is typically only provided on a drop-in basis.
What makes a quality child care program?
When choosing child care, it's important to look for the signs of a quality program. Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, as different types and styles of care may have different effects on your children’s health, comfort and development.
Key indicators of quality programs may include: background checks, licensing, environment, ratios and curriculum/philosophy. Wu Yee can assist parents and guardians with child care licensing information and quality indicators, but parents are ultimately responsible for monitoring their child care concerns.
An indicator of quality is that all teachers, staff, personnel and volunteers in a child care facility have fingerprint clearance. Fingerprint clearance is a background check indicating that individuals have no felony or misdemeanor convictions reported by the California Department of Justice. This information is public and can be acquired by contacting your local licensing office — the San Francisco Community Care Licensing (CCL) Office.
Community Care Licensing
Peninsula Regional Office, Child Care
851 Traeger Ave, Suite 360
San Bruno, CA 94066
Parents can use TrustLine to obtain background information on child care providers, including license-exempt child care providers such as in-home babysitters, nannies or tutors.
All child care providers listed with the TrustLine registry have submitted their fingerprints to the California Department of Justice and have no disqualifying criminal convictions in California. Some, but not all, TrustLine listed providers have also had an FBI criminal background check. Visit trustline.org, for more information.
Having a license tells you that the care provider or facility has met state standards, including health and safety codes, teacher-to-child ratios, teacher and director qualifications, and basic care environment requirements.
It is important to visit and observe a child care facility before enrolling your children. Facilities can have a great impact on a child’s health, safety and development.
There are many different early childhood education (ECE) program philosophies and curriculum, and there is no “one size fits all” approach to early childhood education.
Quality child care providers meet ratio requirements, based on the type of program or license they have, as well as the age groups of the children.
Not sure what kind of child care program makes sense for your family? We're here to help.
Wu Yee's child care Resource and Referral (R&R) program can work with you to help you find a program that fits your family's needs. We can also help you find out if you're eligible for child care payment assistance or subsidies. Fill out the form below, or call Wu Yee's R&R at 415.391.4956.