Policies for Childcare Posts

General Policy

The State of California regulates childcare for children under 5 to make sure that sites are safe for children and that childcare providers meet basic safety requirements.  BPN endorses childcare licensing and does not accept posts about childcare that should be licensed but isn't. 

BPN's definitions

  • babysitter is someone who is hired by a parent to come to the child's home occasionally -- on weekends for date nights, or temporarily, such as during school holidays. Babysitters are often high school or college students, or nannies/teachers who are picking up extra hours on weekends and holidays. 

  • nanny is a professional childcare provider hired by a parent to provide childcare on a regular schedule in the child's home. The parent is the employer and the nanny is the employee.

  • live-in nanny is a nanny who lives in your home and cares for your child in exchange for room, board, and a salary.

  • nanny share is an arrangement between two or more families to share the same nanny at the home of one of the children. Most nanny shares on BPN are between two families for 2 or 3 children.

  • Not a nanny share.  BPN does not consider the following situations to be a nanny share:
    • If the nanny is setting the hours or location of the share, or is the one who recruits new families, the nanny is running a business and is not considered to be a nanny hired by a parent.
    • If the share takes place in the nanny's home and there is more than one other family besides the nanny's children in the share, it should be licensed as a home-based daycare.
    • If the share takes place in a location other than one of the children's homes, it should be licensed as a childcare center.
    • If any of the parents take part in caring for or supervising the children and fees are charged, this should be licensed as a home-based daycare.

All of these situations require a childcare site license as either a daycare or a childcare center/preschool. See About Childcare Licensing for details.

Home-Based Daycares

A home-based daycare is childcare for up to 14 children that takes place in the home of the childcare provider. It may be called a "family daycare" or a "preschool." The State of California's official name is "Family Child Care Home". This type of childcare requires the home to be inspected and licensed by the state. All adults who live or work in the home must have a background check, immunizations, and first-aid training.  See About Childcare Licensing for more information. 

Childcare Centers and Preschools

Childcare centers and preschools take place at a site that is NOT someone's home. The State of California calls these "childcare centers" and licenses them separately from home daycares. Requirements for a childcare center are more demanding than for a home-based daycare, such as specifying the education level of the adults and the space requirements per child. Childcare centers include infant centers,  preschools for 3-5 year olds, and after-school childcare for children aged 5 and up.  See About Childcare Licensing for more information.

Posts that BPN does not accept

  1. Posts about childcare that should be licensed, but isn't. This includes:

    • Nanny shares that take place in the nanny's home. This is a Home-Based Daycare situation that requires a site license from the state of California.   Exception: a license is not required if the nanny cares for only one other family's children besides his/her own.

    • Nanny shares that take place at a site that is not someone's home, such as a park, library, or other location.  This is considered to be a Childcare Center or Preschool and requires a site license. 

    • Any other arrangement for children under 5 that is not a nanny share or a licensed daycare or childcare center, and: 1) there is a fee to participate and 2) not all parents are present. This includes playgroups, preschools, co-ops, shares, exchanges, or pods.  More info: About Co-ops & Childcare Exchanges ... Forest Schools ... Posting about Pods.

  2. Nanny shares that are planned, organized and run by the nanny rather than one of the parents.  For example, an announcement from a nanny who is recruiting parents for regularly-scheduled childcare with pre-determined hours. Nanny shares posted on BPN need to be organized by the parents.

  3. "I saw your nanny" posts. 

Parents sometimes want to report a nanny they have observed neglecting her charges, or behaving in some other objectionable way. It is BPN's policy to not publish messages like this, and we do not accept posts 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, BPN is NOT the right place to report it. Please instead contact an agency that can protect children in danger. 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

If what you 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 either offer to help, 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 our 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.