What is R&R?

SNCS provides child care resource and referral services to all families throughout Sierra and Nevada counties. We believe that choosing child care starts with asking the right questions, so as part of our Child Care Resource & Referral process, we offer technical assistance for parents. This assistance includes child care referrals, child development information, education on quality child care, parenting classes, and support groups.

Easy as 1, 2, 3

There are three ways to receive child care referrals from SNCS:
  1. Call us at (530) 272-8866 Monday-Thursday 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Friday 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
  2. Fill out our online referral form
  3. Walk in to our Grass Valley office at 420 Sierra College Drive Suite 100 during our office hours listed above

Choosing a Provider

Selecting a qualified child care provider is an important step in your child’s life. Enriching and nurturing child care sets the stage for healthy growth and development.

If you are interested in learning about the child care assistance we offer, please have a look at The Programs We Offer.

We are here to support you throughout the child care planning process. We provide free consultation on local early education and child care programs. We also give free child care referrals by matching you and your child’s unique needs with a list of child care providers in Nevada and Sierra Counties.

Get a list of Child Care Providers

Childcare Resources

Early Child Care Philosophies
Choosing quality child care
Finding Child Care for a Child with Special Need
Is this the right place for my child checklist
Childcare Advocate Program (CCAP)
Laws and Regulations
Megan’s Law - Requiring public registration for sex offenders
National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care

If you are interested in viewing SNCS’ Referral Policy and Complaint Policy regarding Licensing Violations, please click here.

Types of Providers

Is it time to return to work after your maternity leave? Are you the parent of a young child who is thinking about returning to school? Have you started thinking about care for your child when you do return to work or school? Do you want to know what options you have?

When parents begin the search for child care, they are often confused and unsure of what options are available to them. Listed below are several different options, including both licensed and license-exempt care. Each of these types of care has distinct features, differences, and licensing requirements, along with conditions on size and adult-to-child ratios. Knowing what these features and differences are can assist you in choosing the option that best fits your needs, as well as your child’s.

Licensed child care can occur in either a Family Child Care Home or in a Child Care Center.

A Family Child Care Home (FCCH)

  • May be licensed for up to 8 (for a small FCCH) or 14 (for a large FCCH) children, depending on the license.
  • Is a program where care is provided in the licensee’s home.
  • Is licensed, along with the child care provider, by the California Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division (CCL).

Each Family Child Care Home…

  • Has health and safety requirements that must be maintained and which are monitored by CCL.
  • Must maintain specific adult-to-child ratios.
  • Is required to have the licensee certified in EMSA approved CPR/First Aid. In large family child care homes, any additional staff that may be left alone with the children must also complete EMSA approved CPR/First Aid.
  • Is required to have the provider, as well as anyone who lives in the home and is over 18 years of age, tested for TB, fingerprinted with a criminal background check, and cleared in the California Child Abuse Index.

A Child Care Center

  • Can be found in public/private schools, religious facilities, or a building owned/leased by the provider.
  • Is issued a license for a specific capacity (the maximum number of children that can be cared for at any one time).
  • Can be licensed for varying ages of children from infancy to school age with a separate license issued for each age component.

Each Child Care Center:

  • Is licensed by the State of California and has health and safety requirements that must be maintained by the provider and monitored by CCL.
  • Is required to maintain specific adult-to-child ratios.
  • Is required to have at least one director or teacher at the center who has been trained in preventive health practices, including EMSA approved CPR/First Aid.
  • Must have a staff member with certification in EMSA approved CPR/First Aid present at all times.
  • Must employ staff that meet the specific educational requirements for each position.

State Preschool

State preschool programs are part-day comprehensive developmental programs for 3 to 5 year old children from low-income families. The programs emphasize parent education and encourage parent involvement.

State Preschool Full-Day Program

The Budget Act of 1997 allowed state preschool program contractors the opportunity to extend their half-day programs to full-day programs with certain restrictions. Some current state preschool providers chose this wrap-around of their existing half-day programs to provide families with the extended services parents needed to maintain employment, meet work participation requirements, or participate in education or job training. Agencies providing full-day services continue to operate in a half-day mode as a state preschool program, but must follow general child care rules and regulations for the remainder of the program day.

Head Start

Head Start is a US Department of Health and Human Services program designed to support low-income families through child care centers and schools in their local community, by providing services for the comprehensive development and promotion of school readiness to young children ages 3 to 5 years old. Head Start services include early learning, health, nutrition, and family well-being.

Early Head Start

Early Head Start programs support low income families with pregnant women, infants, and children up to age 3 years old, by providing comprehensive services and high-quality early learning environments in child care centers and schools.

Early Head Start Child Care Partnership

Early Head Start Child Care Partnership programs support low income families with infants and toddlers by providing comprehensive services and high-quality early learning environments in family child care homes and child care centers. EHS_CCP Brochure

License-Exempt Care

There are also various types of License Exempt Care. License Exempt Care:

  • Is when a license is not required by the State of California.
  • Can include child care programs in a school district (on the school’s site), cooperative care (parents rotate care but no money is exchanged), and temporary on-site child care (conference, activity, special events).
  • Also includes relatives or TrustLine registered providers.
  • Some license exempt providers can only care for the children of only one family (and their own children if appropriate).
  • If a family receiving state assistance for child care through Sierra Nevada Children’s Services chooses a license exempt provider other than a relative, that provider is required to be TrustLine registered and to complete EMSA approved CPR/First Aid.

For more information on the definition of license exempt care, click on this Child Care Law Center link.

Child Care Referrals

The philosophy behind the Child Care Resource and Referral program is that parents are the best people to choose the child care that meets their family’s needs. Referrals are provided based on the parent’s criteria, as well as on child and family needs. We only refer child care providers that are currently licensed.

Request an email referral from our trained Resource and Referral Professionals, fill out the Child Care Referral Form below and email to address on form.

Child Care Referral form – English
Forma Para Referencia de Cuidado de Niños
Contact us for assistance
SNCS Resource and Referral Policy
Política de Recursos y Referencia

Childcare Eligibility List (CEL)

When funds become available to enroll new families, SNCS prints a current CEL listing ordered by rank and contacts families by mail for possible enrollment. Once we confirm eligibility the family will need to attend an orientation when enrolling, and annually upon recertification.

  • The CEL list determines which families should be served first
  • The family is ranked by gross family income, family size and other needs. Income is verified prior to enrollment
  • Children receiving CPS, or children at risk of being neglected or abused are given priority
  • If a child lives with a guardian/foster parent only the child’s income is used to determine the family’s rank

Fill out the CEL application and email to address on form, mail or walk in to SNCS, 420 Sierra College Drive Suite 100, Grass Valley, CA 95945.
CEL ApplicationNevada and Sierra County
CEL ApplicationNevada and Sierra County Spanish Version

Child Care Subsidized Programs

As the designated Resource and Referral agency for Nevada and Sierra Counties, SNCS helps families find a child care provider that will meet their needs. SNCS also administers several programs to help eligible families pay for child care services while they work, look for work, attend school or recover from incapacity. SNCS child care payment assistance programs provide full or partial payment for child care services for enrolled families depending on eligibility. You must first fill out the CEL application above.

Subsidy Programs Description Funding
CalWORKS Stage 1 Child Care Referral must be received from CalWORKS California Department of Social Services (CDSS)
CalWORKS Stages 2 & 3 Child Care Referral must be received from CalWORKS California Department of Education (CDE), Early Education & Support Division (EESD)
Alternative Payment Program (CAPP) Families may choose from child care options such as Family Child Care Homes and Child Care Centers, TrustLine child care providers, or Relative Care child care providers or other license-exempt providers
Family Child Care Home (FCCHEN) “Network” Families must select a participating Network provider. Support, training, and education are available to both parents and providers in the program

For more information about all SNCS programs see the Parent Guide
Para más información sobre todos los programas de SNCS consulte el Guía de Padres

Orientation

SNCS child care payment assistance programs provide full or partial payment for child care services for enrolled families. These programs are designed to assist income eligible families in paying for child care. Funding is provided by the California Department of Education CDE-Early Education and Support Division (EESD).

Once we confirm eligibility the family will need to attend a group orientation when enrolling, and annually upon recertification. Families in Truckee and Loyalton can schedule an individual orientation by contacting their Family Supor Specialist

Orientation Presentation

Parent Guides

The Parent Guide contains valuable information about types of available child care programs that Sierra Nevada Children's Services (SNCS) has to offer in Nevada and Sierra counties. Reading the guide will help families learn about their child care options and funding sources as well as understand the eligibility and enrollment requirements.

Parent Guide – English
Parent Guide – Spanish

Frequently Asked Questions

Are the providers on your database all licensed?
Are all licensed programs the same?
What is child care accreditation?
How do I find out the licensing history of a program?
Will child care make your child more likely to get sick?
How many children can a provider care for at one time?
Who accepts subsidy payments?
Whom can I contact about child care if I move to another county?
What can I do if I don’t agree with a decision made by SNCS?
How do I file a child care provider complaint?

Are the providers on your database all licensed?

When you call us for referrals, we will provide the most current and up-to-date information on licensed child care providers in our community. The majority of child care centers and all family child care homes are licensed by the California Department of Social Services (DSS) Community Care Licensing division. License-Exempt programs are exempt from licensing regulations. Some examples of License-Exempt programs include:

  • A provider who cares only for his/her relatives
  • A provider who only cares for the children of one other family (other than the provider’s own children)
  • Public recreation programs
  • Before- and after-school programs run by schools

Are all licensed programs the same?

The Child Care Licensing Program of California’s Community Care Licensing Division licenses and monitors both Child Care Centers and Family Child Care Homes in an effort to ensure that programs offer a safe and healthy environment for children. All licensed programs are required to meet specific criteria and adhere to various regulations. These criteria and regulations pertain to the facility and the provider, not the educational program. Specific programs vary on their philosophy of early childhood education, style of curriculum, types and amount of educational materials, and structure of the learning environment.

There are also specific and different licensing requirements for child care center programs and family child care homes. The differences range from educational requirements to staffing ratios related to the available physical space per child.

Because the child care needs of each family vary, it is important to speak with and visit several programs before making a decision.

What is child care accreditation?

Accredited programs undergo a rigorous process measuring the program against national standards on childhood education, health and safety. For most programs, it is a voluntary process. The Accreditation Status is the level of quality whereby the service provider demonstrates the capacity, commitment and competence to support high-quality learning and ongoing program improvement.

For more information about accreditation associations and their website addresses go to CDE Accreditation

How do I find out the licensing history of a program?

If you know the exact name of your Licensed Provider, you can look them up on the California Community Care Licensing website and view their citations, inspections and complaints. If you are not sure of the exact name on the license call SNCS at 530 272-8866. The law requires that all licensees post and provide copies of any information about the facility’s compliance with licensing regulations to all parents of children in care.

All parents should receive and sign a copy of the Notification of Parents’ Rights form. To view these forms, click on the link below.
For Child Care Centers
For Family Child Care Homes

Will child care make your child more likely to get sick?

Infectious diseases among children in out-of-home child care settings have drawn considerable attention from researchers and the media.

Research has shown that:

  • Children who regularly participate in groups of six or more children have a higher incidence of infections compared with children in smaller groups.
  • Because of their close proximity and sharing of toys, food, and other objects, children in groups are prone to infectious disease outbreaks.

The good news:

  • More than 90% of infections in children who are in large groups are mild infections that are common in the larger community.
  • The effect of large group attendance on illness is most dramatic in the first year of birth and the first year of child care attendance. The effect decreases in the second, and disappears by the end of the third year of attendance, or by age three if children have been attending since infancy. This decrease is thought to be caused by increased immunity of children who have attended child care.
  • Recent studies have shown that children who participated in child care were less likely to experience respiratory illnesses and asthma in the early school years than children who were not exposed to group care during early childhood.
  • Proven methods for decreasing illness in group settings are hand washing, surface/toy sanitizing, and immunization.

Source: Aronson S, Shope T. Improving the Health and Safety of Children in Nonparental Early Education and Child Care. Pediatrics in Review. 2005;26:86-95 Retrieved from the American Academy of Pediatrics on 01/15/09.

How many children can a provider care for at one time?

All licensed Family Child Care Home providers and Center-Based programs are regulated by California state licensing laws. Specific adult-to-child ratios and capacity limits depend on the type of program. Small family child care homes can care for no more than 8 children and large family child care homes can care for no more than 14 children at any one time. Small family child care homes require only the owner/provider be present while large family child care homes require the addition of an assistant. Center-based program capacity limits and adult-child ratios vary by age group and program type. For more information on center capacities and ratios, visit California’s Community Care Licensing website.

Who accepts subsidy payments?

Most child care providers are accustomed to and accept reimbursement from the state. Please call the SNCS office if you are looking for child care provider referrals or would like to know if your current provider accepts subsidized child care reimbursements.

Whom can I contact about child care if I move to another county?

Child Care Resource & Referral (R&R) agencies are located throughout the State of California, as well as the country. For R&R that serves your county in California go to Resource & Referral County Listing, click on your county to get the contact information.

What can I do if I don’t agree with a decision made by SNCS?

Sierra Nevada Children’s Services (SNCS) must comply with State and Federal laws and regulations when administering its programs.  A complaint is an accusation that in some fashion SNCS has not acted in compliance with State and/or Federal laws and regulations.

In order to file a complaint, a “Sierra Nevada Children’s Services Public Complaint Form” must be completed and submitted to SNCS.
View Complaint Procedure
View/download Complaint Form

How do I file a child care provider complaint?

The Child Care Advocate is available to assist with problem resolution. You may contact the Child Care Advocate Program  directly: Phone number: (916) 654-1541 
Email address: childcareadvocatesprogram@dss.ca.gov

To file a formal complaint with Community Care Licensing (CCL). Parents may telephone (916) 263-5744 and request the consultant for Eastern or Western Nevada County, or call (530) 895-5033 and request the consultant for Sierra County.