About the Childcare Listing
Guidelines for Childcare Postings
Definitions for Childcare Postings
Policies on Other Pages
- Parents can post to "Parents Seeking, Offering, or Recommending Childcare".
- Nannies & babysitters can post to "Nannies & Sitters Offering Care" as long as they have purchased a nanny subscription (teenagers may subscribe for free.)
- Childcare referral agencies can post to "Nannies & Sitters Offering Care" in the category "Childcare referral services" if they have subscribed as a business or non-profit organization.
Daycares & preschools don't post to the Childcare listing. Instead, they can post an Announcement in the category "Schools, Preschools & Daycares with Openings" or an Event in the category "Preschools: Info Sessions/Tours/Open Houses." Parents can post a review of a daycare or preschool by navigating to their profile page on BPN and filling out the Parent Review. Please contact us if you want to post a review of a facility that does not have a profile page on BPN.
Login to your account and click "Post a Message."
You must have an account on this website, so subscribe first if you haven't already. BPN accepts childcare postings from parents, nannies, teens, and childcare referral agencies who are Community Subscribers. If you live in the SF Bay area, you can subscribe to BPN. For details about posting, see "How to Post a Message or a Review."
Parents Seeking, Offering, or Recommending Childcare
- Parents who are looking for childcare, recommending a nanny, or offering a nanny share.
Nannies & Sitters Offering Care
- This section is for nannies, babysitters, and childcare referral agencies who have purchased a Community Subscription. Subscriptions are free for teenagers in middle school or high school. If you are a parent and you are offering childcare, you still need to purchase a nanny subscription. Please read About BPN Community Subscribers for more information.
All posts are reviewed by a BPN moderator. If your post is approved, it will be published to the website. It can take up to 7 days before the moderator reviews your post. However, the moderator will review all pending posts before mailing the Childcare newsletter. You can check the status of your post on your account page (click 'my account' in the upper right corner.)
BPN accepts one active post every 30 days. Your post will remain published on our website for 30 days. After that, you can post again.
The Childcare newsletter is mailed on Sundays. The newsletter contains a list of "new" postings (posted during the past week.) All posts remain published on the website for 30 days unless the author unpublishes them before that. The moderator will catch up on all pending posts before sending out the newsletter each week, so post before Sunday to get your post into this week's newsletter.
Parents may recommend nannies they have experience with. Your post should clearly convey that you have first-hand experience with the nanny caring for your child. Please do not use the Childcare listing to find jobs for friends and relatives. Instead, let them know they can purchase a nanny subscription and post to BPN themselves.
Agencies and consultants that help parents find babysitters, nannies or au pairs can subscribe to BPN as a business or organization and post to the Childcare listing in the section "Childcare Referral Services." Business and organization subscribers can also post announcements about their services.
- Please do not post the same message repeatedly. If you aren't getting a response to your post, see Hints about posting to Childcare.
- Please do not unpublish a post that is less than 30 days old in order to submit a newer post with the same basic information.
- Parents: please do not post a review of the same nanny more than 3 times in the same year. If your nanny is having trouble finding a job, please try other resources besides BPN (see below.)
BPN uses the term "nanny" to refer to someone who is providing regularly scheduled 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. Babysitters may be high school or college students, or a nanny who is picking up extra hours on the weekends. BPN offers free subscriptions to local teenagers who offer occasional babysitting.
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.
- Nanny shares that take place in the nanny's home are not accepted. This is a Home-Based Daycare situation that requires a site license.
- Nanny shares that take place at a site that is not someone's home are not accepted. This is considered to be a Childcare Center and Preschool and requires a site license.
- Nanny shares that are planned, organized and run by the nanny rather than one of the parents are not accepted. For example, an announcement from a nanny who is recruiting parents for regularly-scheduled childcare with pre-determined hours. Nanny shares need to be organized by the parents.
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. To search home-based daycares and read reviews, see Find Daycares & Preschools. If you'd like to post a review of your child's daycare, find its page on the BPN website and post under "Parent reviews" (you must be logged in to the website.) If your daycare doesn't have a page on BPN, contact us and give us their license number, and we'll make a page. Daycares can post about openings in the Announcements newsletter.
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.) To search for a preschool or childcare center, see Find Daycares & Preschools. If you'd like to post a review of your child's preschool, find its page on the BPN website and post under "Parent reviews" (you must be logged in to the website.) If your preschool doesn't have a page on BPN, contact us and give us their license number, and we'll make a page. Centers and Preschools can post about openings in the Announcements newsletter.
IF SOMEONE IS BEING PAID, such as a nanny, a teacher, or one of the parents, then the co-op needs to be licensed by the state's Community Care Licensing Division (CCLD). BPN does not accept postings about programs that should be licensed but aren't. For more information about what types of programs need a license, see About Childcare Licensing in California. (A license is not required for co-ops where parents exchange care-taking duty and no one is being paid, or where all children have a parent present at all times.)
Licensing rules for co-ops:
Do all children have their parent present?
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 parents pay to attend the playgroup, and regardless of where the playgroup takes place.
Where does the co-op take place?
In the teacher's home: This is considered a Family Daycare and the site must be licensed by CCLD. BPN doesn't accept postings about in-home childcare that is not licensed.
In one of the children's homes: This is a Nanny Share as long as the nanny/teacher doesn't live in the home, and no license is required. However, if the hosting parent is supervising children, whether alone or with the help of a paid teacher, then the home needs to be licensed as a Family Daycare.
At a site that is not someone's home: unless this is a Playgroup where all parents remain with their children, 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. Also see Forest Schools in the next section.
A forest school is a program for children under five years old that takes place exclusively outdoors. Childcare regulations in California assume there is a physical site, such as a building or indoor space, for childcare licensing purposes. Therefore, unless they have a physical site, outdoor programs are unable to obtain a childcare license from the state. Since BPN does not accept posts about unlicensed programs, we do not have any reviews of forest schools on the website. We have written to CCLD to ask about the status of these outdoor programs, as they are becoming increasingly popular. However, as of late 2016, no reply has been received. In the meantime, BPN cannot accept reviews or questions about unlicensed outdoor programs, since basic protections that licensing provides -- background checks, CPR training, and adult-to-child ratios -- cannot be ensured.
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, 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" and "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.
To get the best response to your posting, we recommend the following:
Make sure the title on your post is specific. Include the days you're looking for and your neighborhood in the title.
Make sure you are posting to the correct section. Your post may not be read if it appears in the wrong section.
If you are looking for a nanny share, be clear in your post about what your requirements are, but keep in mind that the more flexible you can be about hours and locality, the better response you will get.
If you are looking for a nanny, be aware that most nannies want to work full time. If you need fewer than 30-35 hours a week, be prepared to arrange a share with other families who can provide the nanny with additional hours.
- If you are looking for a teenage sitter, please read Advice about Teen Sitters for info about what to look for and what you can expect.
Make sure the title on your post says enough about you that parents will read your post.
Include information about yourself in your post, and describe your past experience.
Don't use ALL CAPITAL LETTERS because it looks like YELLING.
If English is not your first language, get someone to read over your post for spelling and grammar errors, or ask the moderator to do this.