This page was last updated in February 2020. The State of California occasionally makes changes to its online licensing database, so be aware that some of the instructions below may be out of date.
|License Violation How-To||
The California Department of Social Services created a website in 2014 where parents can view complaints, violations, and inspection dates for all daycares, preschools, and childcare centers in California. Full inspection reports from April 2015 onward are available. For earlier inspection reports, either view records in person or check the website for the Center for Investigative Reporting which scanned preschool and childcare center reports for Alameda and Contra Costa Counties before 2015.
How to Look Up a Preschool or Daycare
NOTES: You can only view records for facilities that are currently licensed, or have applied for a license that isn't finalized yet, or are licensed but in the process of having their license revoked (rare). Facilities that are no longer licensed will not turn up in a database search. Some preschools are exempt from licensing, such as preschools operated by a city or a school district, or certified. You won't find these in the database. All other facilities that accept children under 5 years should have a license.
Go to the State's database: https://www.ccld.dss.ca.gov/carefacilitysearch/
Do you know their license number? This is the easiest way to look up license information. You might find the license # on their BPN profile page if they have one. Enter the license number (without dashes or spaces) under 'Search By Facility Number' and click the Search button. If you get a message that says "No facilities match the search criteria ..." [example here] that means the license number you entered is not valid. This could mean that the facility has closed, or they have a newer license number, or in rare cases, that their license was revoked.
Don't know their license number?
Click the "Child Care" button on the page above.
Choose the appropriate Facility Type. You may need to search for more than one type before you find it.
In-Home Daycares for all ages, in someone's home
- "Family Child Care Home (Small)" 8 or fewer children
- "Family Child Care Home (Large)" 9-14 children
- Preschools for ages 2-4, not in someone's home = "Child Care Center Preschool"
- Childcare Centers for ages 0-2, not in someone's home ="Child Care - Infant Center"
After School Programs for elementary school children = "School Age Child Care Center"
Choose at least one additional field:
"Small" In-home daycare (up to 8 children) : For small daycares, you can only search on "Facility Name" which is the name of the owner. It must be an exact match, in this form: "Lastname, Firstname" If you know the owner by a nickname, use their full legal name, such as "Smith, Elisabeth" (not "Beth"). Note: it can be difficult or impossible to find a small daycare. You might need to contact the daycare directly for their license number.
"Large" in-home daycares & preschools (up to 14 children) : The state does not store daycare names such as "Cindy's Daycare." Also the only part of the address you can search on is the city. But you can often match on the owner's name. Type all or part of the owner's name into the "Facility Name". Add city if there are too many matches. If searching on the name fails, try searching just the city and then scroll through the list of daycares till you find it.
Preschools and childcare centers: Type all or part of the name of the preschool into "Facility Name". If that doesn't work, try the street name along with the city, or the zip code.
For information about how to interpret what's on the license, see Reading the Online License Record at DSS.
How to View Records in Person
Your child's childcare provider is required to keep 3 year's worth of any confirmed violations and show them to you if you ask. If you want to check a daycare or preschool that your child doesn't attend, you can look it up in the CCLD Database or optionally call/visit the Regional Office and ask to review the daycare's file.
Here is the information for Alameda and Contra Costa counties:
BAY AREA REGIONAL OFFICE
1515 Clay Street, Suite 1102, MS 29-04
Oakland, CA 94612
FAX (510) 622-2641
For other California counties, see List of Child Care Program Offices (PDF file from CCLD).
(Note: Prior to 2015, California was one of the few states that did not make this information available online. Here is a Jan 2015 report about this by the Center for Investigative Reporting: https://www.revealnews.org/article/day-care-center-records-for-alameda-contra-costa-counties-now-online/
How to File a Complaint about a Daycare or Preschool
This information is from the Department of Social Services website https://cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/ccld-complaint-hotline
- Phone: 1-844-538-8766
- Email: letusno [at] dss.ca.gov