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About the Childcare Newsletter

Berkeley Parents Network > Help & Frequently Asked Questions > Childcare Newsletter

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    What goes in the Childcare newsletter?

    Babysitter vs. Nanny

    Most BPN postings use the term "nanny" to refer to someone who is providing regularly scheduled weekday care in the child's home, and "babysitter" to refer to someone who comes to the child's home occasionally, such on the weekends, especially for a "date night" on Friday or Saturday night. Weekend babysitters may be high school or college students, or a nanny who is picking up extra hours on the weekends.

    Nannies and Nanny Shares

    A nanny is someone who is paid to come to your home to care for your child, usually on a regular schedule.

    A live-in nanny lives in your home and cares for your child in exchange for room, board, and a salary.

    A nanny share is an arrangement between two or more families to share the same nanny. The care takes place at the home of one of the children, not at the nanny's home. The nanny may be caring for all the children at the same time, or dividing her time so that each family has the nanny to themselves for a shorter time.

    Nanny shares that take place in the child's home do not need to be licensed. However, shares that take place in the home of the person providing care must be licensed as a home-based childcare facility, and BPN cannot accept postings without a license number. See Home-Based Daycare below for more information.

    Shares that take place at a site that is not someone's home must be licensed as a preschool or childcare center, and BPN requires a license number on these posts. See Childcare Centers and Preschools for more information.

    Home-Based Daycare

    A daycare is childcare for children from more than one family that takes place in the home of the childcare provider. It may be called "family daycare" or "home-based childcare" or "preschool." The State of California's official name for care in the home of the provider is "Family Child Care Home". This type of childcare requires the home to be inspected and licensed by the state. BPN does not accept postings about unlicensed daycares. See About Childcare Licensing for more information.

    Home-based "preschools" can be posted to either the Childcare newsletter in the Daycare section, or to the Schools & Preschools newsletter.

    Family daycares may be "small" (up to 8 children) or "large" (up to 14 children). The number of children under age 2 is restricted, and adult-to-child ratios are specified according to the number of children and their ages. Some daycares accept all ages, from infants to after-school elementary aged kids. Other daycares focus on specific ages such as toddlers or pre-school aged children.

    Childcare Centers and Preschools

    A childcare center refers to childcare that does NOT take place in someone's home. A childcare center may accept all ages, from infants on up, or it may be a preschool that only accepts 3-5 year olds. The State of California licenses childcare centers separately from home-based daycares, and considers any program that cares for children, including a preschool or after-school program, to be a "childcare center." Requirements for a childcare center are more demanding than for home-based daycare, such as specifying the education level of the adults, space requirements per child, and the like. (see About Childcare Licensing for more information.)

    BPN accepts postings about childcare centers for children under 3 in both the Childcare and the Schools & Preschools newsletters. For preschools for 3-5 year olds, post to the Schools & Preschools newsletter.

    Co-ops and Babysitting Exchanges

    A babysitting co-op is an arrangement among parents who are taking turns caring for each others' children and NO MONEY IS CHANGING HANDS. It may be called a "co-op" or a "babysitting exchange" or a "babysitting swap". This type of arrangement does not require a license from the state's Community Care Licensing (CCLD). You can post co-ops and exchanges to the Announcements newsletter under "Playgroups" as long as no one is being paid.

    However, IF SOMEONE IS BEING PAID, such as a nanny, a teacher, or one of the parents, then BPN does not consider this to be a babysitting co-op. Use these guidelines to determine where to post:

    1. If the parent of every child is present the entire time, this is considered a Playgroup. Playgroups do not need to be licensed even if someone is being paid, and regardless of where they take place. Playgroups can be posted to the Announcements newsletter in the "Connections and Playgroups" section.

    2. If the childcare takes place in one of the children's homes, and care/supervision is not being provided by someone who lives there, then this is a Nanny Share, and can be posted to the Childcare newsletter in one of the Nanny Share sections. Note that the hosting parent should not be supervising children in this case. Otherwise the home needs to be licensed.

    3. If the childcare takes place in someone's home, and an adult who lives there is providing supervision of the children, this is considered a Family Daycare and the site must be licensed by CCLD. Licensed programs can be posted to either the Childcare newsletter under "daycare" or to the Schools & Preschools newsletter as a preschool. BPN doesn't accept postings about in-home childcare that is not licensed.

    4. If the childcare takes place at a site that is not someone's home, and it is not a Playgroup where all parents remain with their children, then this is considered a Preschool or Childcare Center and the site must be licensed by CCLD. See Parent Co-operative and Parent Participation Preschools for a list of licensed programs reviewed by BPN subscribers. Preschools can post to the Schools & Preschools newsletter and childcare centers can post to either the Childcare newsletter or to the Schools & Preschools newsletter. BPN requires a license number on these posts.

    BPN does not accept postings about unlicensed daycares or childcare centers. For more information see About Childcare Licensing in California.

    Postings from nannies & babysitters

    BPN accepts postings from local babysitters, nannies, and daycares that are seeking clients. If you live in the SF Bay area, you can subscribe to the BPN and post to the Childcare Newsletter under "Childcare Provider Offering Care" or "Daycare Openings". If you are a teenager who babysits, and your parent subscribes to either the Berkeley Parents Network or Parents of Teens, you or your parent can submit a post to the Childcare newsletter under "Student/Teen Babysitter."

    Postings from agencies

    BPN does not accept postings on behalf of agencies that place babysitters, nannies or au pairs, per the Policy on Advertising. Agencies also may not send email to BPN subscribers who have posted a "nanny wanted" message in the Childcare newsletter, unless an agency was specifically requested. If a BPN subscriber asks a question about agencies, such as in the Recommendations newsletter, it is OK to respond and recommend your own agency, or to give general advice.

    I saw a babysitter at the park neglecting her charges - please post my report.

    We sometimes get email from parents who want to report on a babysitter they have seen neglecting her charges, or behaving in some other objectionable way. It is BPN's policy not to publish messages like this in the newsletter, and we cannot accept postings that seek to contact the parents who hired the babysitter.

    If you feel that you have witnessed child abuse or neglect by a parent or a sitter or anyone else, please report it immediately to Child Protective Services, or to the local police. This is the very best way to protect the child. Here are some phone numbers that might be of assistance:

  • Child Protective Services(Alameda County): (510)259-1800
  • Berkeley Police: (510)644-5658
  • Oakland Police: (510)238-3333

    BPN is NOT the right place to report abuse or neglect. Please instead contact an agency that can protect children in danger.

    If what you have observed is not abuse or neglect, such as a someone speaking unkindly to a child, or not attending to them closely enough, then BPN recommends that you offer to assist, or else say nothing. This is because: 1) There is a range of parenting styles. What some of us consider "child-centered attachment parenting" others consider "over-protective helicopter parenting." 2) No one is perfect. We all lose control sometimes and yell or speak harshly to children. Or take our attention away from them long enough for trouble to ensue.

    Please assume the best and leave it alone unless you have reason to believe the child is in danger, in which case you should either offer to help, or contact an agency that can protect the child.

    Hints about posting to the Childcare newsletter

    During the last few years, the Childcare newsletter has been receiving 2-3 times more postings from childcare providers than from parents who are seeking childcare. This means that if you are seeking a childcare job, or your are posting a recommendation of your childcare provider, there is a high likelihood that no one will respond to your post.

    To get the best response to your posting in the Childcare newsletter, we recommend the following:

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