A public assistance program that gives cash aid, including child care payments, to eligible California families. CalWORKs pays for child care in 3 stages, through the county welfare departments (Stage 1) and the California Department of Education (Stages 2 and 3). Visit https://www.cdss.ca.gov/calworks to learn more.
Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
Part of the National School Lunch Act, the Child and Adult Care Food Program is a federally-funded, state-administered program to provide healthy meals to children and adults in care. Food is subsidized based on income eligibility and must meet nutritional guidelines. Read more about CACFP here.
Child Care Referral
A child care referral is a list of licensed child care programs provided to a parent or guardian, based on their needs and requirements. A referral is not a recommendation. Children’s Council also provides free referrals to other local resources such as employment, housing, health care, and after school and summer programs.
Children’s Council also offers the most comprehensive database of licensed child care in San Francisco.
Our counselors are available Mon-Thu 8:30am to 4pm, and Fri 8:30am to noon. Email us today!
Community Care Licensing
The core mission of the Child Care Licensing Program is to ensure the health and safety of children in care. The Child Care Licensing Program strives to provide preventive, protective, and quality services to children in care by ensuring that licensed facilities meet established health and safety standards through monitoring facilities, licensing new providers, offering technical assistance, and establishing partnerships with providers, parents, and the child care community.
To file a complaint regarding a state licensed community care facility or child care facility, call 1-844-Let-Us-No/1-844-538-8766 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember, when you report suspected violations, you not only protect individuals in care facilities, but also perform a service to your community.
Early Learning Scholarship (ELS)
San Francisco’s Early Learning Scholarships (ELS) provide funding for families with children 0-5 years old for a network of high-quality early care and education.
More than 300 licensed early care and education programs are currently qualified to care for children with Early Learning Scholarships. These programs are committed to continuous quality improvement and receive coaching, professional development and higher rates to enhance their quality and cover the costs of operating a quality program.
Early Childhood Education (ECE)
The profession of caring for and teaching children aged 0-5. Child care during these years helps families thrive. Learn more here about how Children’s Council has been the heart of child care and early education in San Francisco, working to ensure that every child in San Francisco has the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Family Child Care (FCC) Programs
Family Child Care (FCC) programs are licensed by the state of California to provide child care services in the program owner’s home. These programs must meet health and safety standards set by the state. State licenses are issued for small (6 or 8 children) and large (12 or 14 children) capacities.
Most FCC programs provide child care services for mixed-age groups which may include a combination of infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school-age children. Hours and days of operation vary, with some programs offering evening and weekend hours.
Although not required by state licensing, many FCC educators have child development degrees and/or participate in ongoing professional development.
Interested in becoming a Family Child Care Provider? Visit this page to learn more.
Curious about the different types of child care? Visit this page to learn more.
Federally funded program offering educational, nutritional, health, and other services to children in very low-income families to promote school readiness. Head Start includes Early Head Start, which focuses on infants, toddlers, and pregnant women. http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc
License Exempt Provider (LEP)
License-exempt providers may be relatives, friends or neighbors, and also include nannies, babysitters, and au pairs. This overview from the Child Care Law Center explains who can legally care for children without a license.
For more information on training and support available for license-exempt providers please email our team or call 415.276.2974.
Parent Voices is a parent-led, parent-run grassroots organization fighting to make quality child care accessible and affordable for all families. Chapter organizations are hosted by local resource and referral agencies throughout California like Children’s Council of San Francisco. Our chapters work to improve access to child care for all families in their communities, California, and the United States.
For more information, see related article: How can I lend my voice to the movement for better and more affordable child care in my community?
Preschool programs, usually for four-year-old's, that focus on preparing children academically for kindergarten.
Preschool for All (PFA) Tuition Credit
The Preschool for All Tuition Credit (PFA) program helps provide universal access to preschool to all 4-year-olds in San Francisco. PFA is open to all families regardless of need or income. Families may receive a tuition credit of up to $4,440 annually
To learn more about PFA, visit this page from the San Francisco Office of Early Care and Education.
Subsidy, Voucher, Financial Assistance
Children’s Council offers a variety of child care financial assistance programs to partially or completely cover the costs of care for children from birth until age 13. Eligibility is based on family-size and income. Families may be eligible regardless of immigration status. Child care options vary depending on the type of financial assistance for which you qualify.
Wondering if you qualify for child care financial assistance? Check out Children’s Council Child Care Financial Assistance Eligibility Calculator: www.childrenscouncil.org/subsidycalculator
Child Care Resource & Referral Agency (R&R)
Each county in California has at least one Child Care Resource & Referral Agency (CCR&R) that helps maintain the supply of high quality, affordable providers and helps parents get access to care for their children. https://rrnetwork.org/family-services/find-child-care
Children who turn 5 years old between September 2 and December 2 qualify for a year of publicly funded pre-kindergarten education, called Transitional Kindergarten or ‘TK’. Transitional Kindergarten is part of California’s K-12 public school system. Learn more about TK in the San Francisco Unified School District here.