Types of Child Care
There are many factors to consider when choosing child care, and parents will be looking for a program that suits their family’s needs, location, hours, and budget. Finding the right one can feel like a daunting task, but thankfully, several child care types are available to help tick off these boxes. Local Resource and Referrals (R&R) can also help a parent or caretaker understand their options more thoroughly. If you or someone you know is starting their child care journey, it’s important to know the available child care types.
Family Child Care Homes
Family Child Care (FCC) is care offered from a licensed provider’s home. A licensed provider has completed all certifications and requirements set by Community Care Licensing, a division of California’s Department of Social Services. An FCC provider may serve families with traditional and non-traditional schedules and be open evenings and weekends. Children in an FCC may be of the same age group, all toddler age, for example, or in mixed-age groups.
Why parents may choose family child care homes
Parents may prefer an FCC for one or all the following reasons:
- The home-like environment can be comforting to children who feel it is a “home away from home.”
- Smaller ratios, most FCCs have six or less children in their care.
- Not all parents work an 8am-5pm schedule. Many need overnight and weekend care and FCCs are equipped to provide this.
Center-Based Child Care
A center setting often involves the care of larger groups of children in a commercial building. They can be privately owned and operated, associated with a larger corporation, or part of a community center, religious organization or non-profit.
Why parents may choose center-based child care centers
Parents may prefer a center setting for one or all the following reasons:
- Classroom-like environment to prepare children for school.
- Larger class sizes can potentially mean more opportunities to interact with kids their own age.
- Larger staff to ensure care is available everyday.
Family, Friend, and Neighbor Care
Family, Friend, and Neighbor Care (FFN) can also be referred to as license-exempt because they are not legally required to hold a license. Alternative programs like community-based or school readiness programs, can also be license-exempt.
Why parents may choose this care
Parents may prefer an FFN provider for one or all the following reasons:
- Parents feel comfortable and familiar with the caregiver.
- Less expensive.
- Flexibility in hours and transportation for working parents.
State Preschool Program
State preschools are free or low-cost programs for families who meet the state income and family size criteria. These programs receive state funding and typically serve children ages 3 to 4 in preschool or pre-kindergarten classrooms.
Why parents may choose state preschool programs
Parents may prefer a state preschool program for one or all the following reasons:
- Specific programming for 3- and 4-year-olds.
- Focused on preparing children for kindergarten.
- Variety of activities and services focused on development, health and safety and parent participation.
How to get child care assistance
Child care is an extensive cost for families. The amount a family pays is determined by the type of care they choose, from a family member or neighbor to a private center. And while there are free options like a head start, most options require a fee. In San Bernardino County, assistance programs are available to help reduce the amount families pay. California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) Child Care is one program. Through it, qualifying families may pay none or a portion of the cost of care for children ages zero to 12 years old. Qualifying families must be enrolled in CalWORKS and participating in Welfare-to-Work (WTW), a Cal-Learn program (teen parent) or employed. Outside of CalWORKS, San Bernardino County’s R&Rs can offer financial assistance for families with parents who meet the income qualifications, are enrolled in school, are looking for employment, or working. Pomona Unified School District Child Development program serves Alta Loma, Chino, Chino Hills, Etiwanda, Montclair, Mount Baldy, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, and Upland. Child Care Resource Center serves the rest of San Bernardino County.
County Programs for Parents
There are supplemental programs across the county to support parents and caretakers outside of traditional child care including:
- From Preschool Services Department:
- Early Head Start Home-Based program offers services to pregnant women, infants and toddlers.
- Low Income First Time Mothers (LIFT) focuses on prenatal and infant care
- Fatherhood FIRE program looks at networking, workshops, and other supports for fathers
- From CCRC:
- Weekly virtual and in-person playgroups
- Parent Cafes, built for parents to connect and engage in conversations around parenting to strengthen families
- Check out their community calendar for playgroups, cafes and more
- Other takeaways included:
QSSB and child care
QSSB is a workforce development program that partners with early childhood educators in all child care settings and school readiness programs serving children ages zero to five. The free program invites providers to increase their environment’s quality through personalized quality improvement plans, access to professional development supports and trainings, collaborative coaching and linkages to higher education credits and certifications. Find all participating early education programs here.
- Download the free QSSB Coloring Packet for 5 things to keep in mind when choosing care.
- Utilizing your local Resource & Referral for a child care plan that fits your family’s needs.
- Learn more about the upcoming Universal PreKindergarten program set to launch in 2025-2026.