Where to Look for Childcare

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Suggestions for finding Childcare Non-Profit Childcare Referral Agencies  

Berkeley Parents Network

The Berkeley Parents Network has message boards to Find Nannies & Sitters, Find Daycares & Preschools, for Parents Seeking Childcare,  and for Schools & Preschools with Openings.  You must be a BPN subscriber to read or post to these message boards.


Website for Bananas: www.bananasinc.org
5232 Claremont Ave. 658-7101
M-Th 9:30a-4:30p, Tu 7p-9p, F 9:30a-1p

Bananas is a non-profit child-care referral agency for Alameda County residents. Besides referrals for all types of child care, they also offer classes for parents and a monthly newsletter.

Click here for BPN reviews of Bananas


Contra Costa Child Care Council

Website: www.cocokids.org


Offices in Richmond, Concord, Antioch and Brentwood (Main Office: 925-676-5442)

Contra Costa Child Care Council is the non-profit child-care referral agency serving all of Contra Costa County, from El Cerrito and Kensington to Richmond to Concord to San Ramon to East County. They provide free child care referrals as well as classes for parents, tip sheets and newsletters, and a comprehensive website with parent resources.

Newspaper Advertising

From: Tom

I recommend the Hill papers (The Montclarion, etc.) for advertising for a child care provider. One ad gets into about 6 of their locals. I got an overwhelming response. Picked one who's been with us for over a year!

Berkeley Campus

For those seeking childcare and the schedule is such that a university student might be an appropriate provider, here's the website to list jobs for UC Berkeley students:

career.berkeley.edu/Employers/EmpJob.stm (updated Aug 2005) Nicole

From: Donna
Subject: Free Job Listing Service

This is just FYI to those of you who write in wanting to hire someone to do childcare, housecleaning, gardening, tutoring, party help, etc. I work at Career & Graduate School Services here on campus and we have a service where we can post your job listing and it doesn't cost you anything. Currently enrolled UC Berkeley and other UC campus students have access to these job listings. You can call our Student Employment office at 642-0440 for more information on how to post a job. They can also give you some suggestions on what the pay rate may be for your job. I think the general rule is that you have to at least pay minimum wage.

From: randice

To Netsy & others looking for students for childcare/ tutors. We do have a job board at the Child Study Center and I can post childcare ads. Just fax to me at 643-7350. Sometimes I copy the Childcare Connection section up here anyway. HOWEVER, most of the students who see the ads are already working here so don't always want more hours. I don't really know how successful our board is. But we also get more students than we need coming in looking for work. Also, in the fall a Ed. Psych class meets here and throughout the year people come to observe.

The Daily Cal

We had a student who came to our house and took care of our son while I worked at home. We advertised in the Daily Cal. We also considered placing an ad through the student employment office on campus but never did. If I were to do it again, I'd advertise in the Daily Planet. Warning: students aren't the most reliable but they're the least expensive and it may be easier to match their schedule to yours, especially if you live pretty near campus. Fran

We have had really good success with hiring sitters who called us in response to ads we've placed in the Daily Cal. The only problem you may have with college students is that they usually don't live around here and will go home for holidays/vacations. I wonder whether you couldn't place an ad in high school employment offices or newspapers if you wanted to go that route.

We now have three sitters who each work for us 10-15 hours per week and who are all university students. Our son just loves them, and I think that they're especially enthusiastic because playing with Alan is a break from their studies. However, we're both graduate students, so we don't have to have sitting at particular hours.

We have had success advertising in the DC when we needed babysitters/household helpers. While we've hired students, many who respond to the ads are not students. Also, students aren't always the most reliable because their school schedules/tests/work come first. We generally time the ads to come out near the end of the week, although we sometimes got calls a couple weeks after an ad runs. Usually the ad has to run at least 2 days. Our ads have been very short -- 2-3 lines, and do include the pay range.

A couple years ago I used the Daily Cal and found about four sitters but none of them turned out well. I called multiple references and they all got rave reviews but who are the people giving the references? I don't know them at all or their standards. One babysitter never smiled and I got reports from my neighbor that she was awfully curt with my kids. Another one fell asleep in the middle of the afternoon for the entire time I was gone. My baby was asleep in his crib but my 3-year-old was awake in her room having quiet time for over two hours. I had specifically asked the sitter to go get her 20 minutes after I left. I walked in the door to find her asleep in the living room where I'd left her. Yet another had her boyfriend over the first (and only) time she sat. My husband and I pulled into our driveway to find him coming out of our house. I guess we got home a little earlier than expected. These kids are definitely in it for the money. I only use babysitters who come recommended by people I know now.

Hi, I gave the advice a while back to place an ad in the Daily CL for a sitter because one which seemed very good ( wife of graduate Business student from Argentina) told me that is how she looked for a job, and recommended that , over Bananas, because sitters don't have to go there to check ads regularly. I am surprised and sorry if it did not work out for you. I do see a lot of ads for care in there. I guess there is high demand, and limited offer...I was going to try myself actually, but have not done so yet, still waiting for confirmation on a job.

Online Resources

Craigslist has many childcare postings for the Bay Area.

Other Places to Look

I would be very concerned about hiring anyone as a sitter for whom I didn't have references, and who might be choosing to do this work simply for the money. I would also prefer to hire someone who has experience being with and caring for children, which some students do, but many do not. I would therefore feel more comfortable (if I was going to hire a student) finding them through a church, the Jewish Community Center, or other values-oriented setting than through an unfiltered public advertisement.