Parents' Advice about License Violations

Parent Q&A

Archived Q&A and Reviews




Are moms checking daycare licenses?

Dec 2009


I recently visited a home daycare. Some very odd things stood out about the place, mostly regarding obvious lack of childproofing/safety of the play areas. Well, I checked the daycare license, and the daycare had numerous serious violations, some of them very recent. However, there are about 10 kids there right now. I can't believe these parents put their kids there. Am I missing something? Didn't the other parents see the chaos and safety issues that I saw, and didn't they check the license history? I would never put my baby there. Just curious about others' thoughts on this. Thanks. Puzzled

I work in licensing enforcement, and I believe that very few parents check out the licensing files on day cares before they put their children in them. As a matter of fact, before I worked at licensing, I didn't even know that parents could do such a thing, and the day care facilities rarely if ever volunteer prospective parents to look up the licensing file. I ended up putting my then infant in a nice and shiny day care center that had been cited for toe curling violations! I didn't find out about those violations until after I had taken my child out of the facility! UGH... I still have nightmares about that facility!

Now that I work in enforcement, I have been deeply disturbed by some of the parents I have encountered, when I have taken facilities to court to revoke the licenses. Despite how egregious the violation is, there are always parents who come to court to testify how wonderful and loving the day care provider is. I won't give you examples of the cases, since you will be as troubled as I am!

I recently discovered that a facility that cares for kids of friends of my child does not have a required license, and a few of the parents of the kids dismiss my concerns by saying they trust the provider to run the facility safely and select employees carefully. UGH! I have seen several cases where the unfingerprinted person looks like a pillar of society and has a criminal record that will frighten the heck out of you! Oh well...

I hope your posting helps alert parents of an important resource easily available to them, and that they run... not walk... over to 1515 Clay Street - 11th floor... call first... and look at the facility files. Via BART: 12th Street station. been there and unfortunately done that

I checked, I believe I had to leave a message and they called me back. My daycare had one violation in the previous two years, of having one extra child in care at time of inspection, but on subsequent expections the ratio was okay. anon

WOW!! I had no idea about all this. I quite naively assumed that if there was a violation the license would be pulled and the provider would not be doing childcare anymore. Now that I have read your post and the responses, I can see how WRONG I am. I will be going to Clay street (do not pass go) ASAP. Thank you so much for posting this information, I think it is something all parents need to know!! a greatful mama


How can we find out daycare's safety record?

April 2007


Hi, We are looking for a home daycare for our son. What is the best way to find out about their safety records, whether there are any complaints about them...etc. We live in San Ramon, Contra Costa County. Thanks a lot.

You can contact licensing: BAY AREA REGIONAL OFFICE 1515 Clay Street, Suite 1102, MS: 29-04 Regional Manager: Oakland, CA 94612 Fred Gill (510) 622-2602 FAX (510) 622-2641 Counties: Alameda and Contra Costa Please, if you see inquiries, don't judge right away. I had to report a sexual abuse ordeal with the children services on a parent (which is my responsibility as a childcare provider) and that parent, knowing I was the main person in this childs life that would report, backlashed & reported false claims against me causing 2 other inquiries on my file. These were unsubstantiated, but still, when a parent sees even inquiries, it's damaging. If you notice something on the daycare providers record, you may want to look into it first with the provider to get their take on it. All the other parents in my daycare knew what had happened too & were very supportive of me, so you could also contact the providers current/past clients. Good Luck, Daycare provider

Call Community Care Licensing for your area. Should be in the government section of the phone book. They'll be able to provide information about any licensed daycare home or center in your area. ASP

Contact Community Care Licensing, Dept of Social Services. I think that San Ramon area may still be under the Oakland jurisdiction, but if not they can refer you. It would be helpful to have the license # of the day care(s) in which you are interested. Keep in mind, though, that not all safety records have to be sent to CCL. They should have all copies on site as well. Some are not open to the public, but many have to be made available to public. Former Childcare Director

Contra Costa Child Care Council should be able to point you in the right direction if that info is publicly available. . . . ( Margaret


We like the daycare, but it has license violations

Nov 2006


I have been searching diligently for a home daycare for my infant daughter. It hasn't been easy due to the lack of openings at most facilities. Of the twenty or so I called, I got calls back from only a small handful, most of which I visited. I finally found one we thought was okay, but then found out information from another parent on BPN that confirmed some uncomfortable feelings we had and decided not to use them.

I had started to lose hope but then found another very close to home with a warm, loving atmosphere and an opening. They were also willing to come down in price which was important as we have rather tight finances (hence the need for a home daycare versus another kind of care). However, when I called Community Care Licensing, I found out out they have violations on file such as:

-an adult present in the daycare who wasn't fingerprinted (I'm guessing this is an immigration related issue but don't know for sure)
-too many children under two
-primary caregiver with license moved out of house (she still provides care, but doesn't live there which I guess means the license isn't valid)

I don't know whether to ignore these technicalities and trust my gut that this is the best place we've found. They actually seem to like/hold/interact with babies there (which hasn't been true of others I've visited where it is clearly and primarily a money-making venture and not about the nurturing of children). I'm running out of options, but I'm also hesitant due to the problems in their file. Note: there were no parent complaints filed.

What are your experiences with such things? What would you do if you had a limited amount of money and had to use a home daycare, had an infant (there are very few openings for infants) and couldn't get into any of the places recommended by friends and acquaintances because there were no openings. If you couldn't hire a nanny and couldn't stay at home (must work to support family)? A daycare center is out of the question due to the high cost and long waiting lists.

Frustrated by lack of options, scared too

Our daycare got a violation WHILE our kid was still attending -- in fact, I suppose it could be the same place, although I don't recall any problem with unfingerprinted workers. They had had too many kids under two when the inspector visited, on two occasions. The agency came down like a ton of bricks, and our daycare provider lost the ability to accept any new kids under 2 for, I think, 2 years. The parents of the then-current attendees were very supportive of our caregivers -- they had really taken great, loving care of our babies while we were out at work, and we knew that at least one of the ''too many toddlers'' events was due to a birthday party. So for what it's worth, these violations may not be a big deal. Ask the other parents who are currently there how they feel about the place.
Careful But Openminded

I would check on the details of the violations as the inspecting process is not always logical. Maybe something they marked the daycare down on is not something you would be concerned about at all. I don't know how her prices compare but, last I checked, Robin's Nest Daycare in Berkeley had a couple of openings and I can vouch for the very personal and engaging care Robin provides because she raised both of my (now grown) kids and they still consider her their second mom. She prefers infants and she has taken all the continuing education, 1st aid, childhood development, etc., has passed all her inspections, and all members of her household have been cleared. She can be reached at 510-843-8897. Don't give up hope; the right place is just around the bend. bj

For goodness sakes! You found a daycare which is:

  1/ within your budget 2/ willing to take your infant 3/ loves to hold and interact (a primary need of infants) 

and you're worried about technicalities? The violations would make me pause too, however the bottom line is... will your child get good care, be safe and get lots of love? I'm guessing your gut already gave you a yes on that one. So if they aren't licensed/fingerprinted and sometimes have too many kids, does that mean they will love your infant any less? Hopefully not, and you are somewhat bound by supply and demand. I say trust your instincts, know that life is never perfect, and go for this situation where your baby will get loved anon

My 2 year old goes to a daycare center so I can't comment specifically, but I would say, those violations raise some red flags for me, particularly the invalid license and the non- fingerprinted adult. I wonder if you could talk to any of the parents whose kids go there to get their feedback? Maybe even post the name of the daycare on BPN and see if you get any responses. What about a nanny share? I really don't know what these cost since we never looked into it. Finding affordable quality childcare is so impossible. We love our center, but it is far from affordable. Good luck. Anon