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Day care at home

Original post made by pamom, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 26, 2012

I'm a stay at home mom and have started taking care of a friend's child for her. Does anyone know how many young children you can babysit/watch at home before you need to get a license from the city? Do you have to get approval of the neighbors too? Thanks for advice!

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Posted by Ducatigirl
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 26, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Ducatigirl is a registered user.

My mom used to do this. If you hve only one daycar child, and you have that child less than eight hours per day, it is babysitting and not daycare. More hours or more kids, and you need a license, which takes several months to get. It includes fingerprinting and a background check.

The number of kids you can take is determined by their ages and how many kids of your own you have. A child under the age of two is considered an infant, and an infant is considered the equivalent of three kids over the age of two. Unless you have a helper, you can have no more than five kids total, including your own.

If you want to take on more children, you have to get a "variance" from the county. I am not sure what this is, although I know it includes getting permission from neighbors. You also have to have at least one helper, as well as on-site (not just on the street) parking. If any of those kids are handicapped, there are more restrictions.

I also know that if you are a renter, your landlord cannot legally keep you from having childcare, although you will be rquired by the state to have special insurance for this. Also, homeowner's insurance companies do not like to see childcare in your home, and will raise your rates substantially for this.

Once you are licensed, you have to do bookkeeping and keep other records for the county and state.

I last checked this out in 2010. It is possible that there may have been changes. Do contact the Dept of Social Services for this county for more information or to get started.

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Posted by Grandma
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2012 at 7:11 pm

What kind of insurance do you have? I should check this out because if you're responsible for that child you need financial protection.

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Posted by Ducatigirl
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 26, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Ducatigirl is a registered user.

If you contact the Santa Clara County Dept of Social Services, they can get you pointed in the right direction. There used to be, and maybe still is, a childcare providers' group that used to meet monthly in downtown SJ. They gave lots of advice on insurance and could hook you up with liability insurance providers. I do remember that the Social Workers who did the home inspections highly recommended it, because frivolous lawsuits can be a real threat.

I think there are also some new tax exemptions for providing chilcare these days. The last time I checked it out, over two years ago, that was still the case. Definitely worth looking into. Contrary to popular belief, the IRS can be very helpful in these matters. Just don't wait until March or April to call!

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Posted by Ducatigirl
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 27, 2012 at 8:46 am

Another important resource I almost forgot about is the Community Childcare Council, also known as the Four Cs. They are a great source of help with childcare insurance, as well as answering questions about childcare-related issues.

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