October 14, 2009 > Child Care
By Dustin Findley
There are two categories of licensed childcare, each with its own set of regulations, which can make it tricky for anyone wishing to start a childcare business. Family childcare entails caring for children in the provider's home. Childcare centers provide care at a facility.
The City of Milpitas website has many helpful resources, such as the definitions of childcare, types of childcare programs and the services a childcare provider can supply.
For example, after-hours childcare benefits nurses, firefighters and others who work non-traditional hours. Care for children up to age two is another specialty. Mildly-ill care has specific requirements; there are no such providers in Milpitas.
The popular perception of childcare is preparation for kindergarten at pre-school and nursery school but care is available for young, 6 to 12 year-old, elementary school students before and after school. Special-needs care provides unique services to children who require them.
The state of California issues childcare licenses through regional offices. Milpitas is served by San Jose. A prospective childcare provider must complete orientation, satisfy licensing requirements and allow the Milpitas Fire Department to inspect the premises. Large family childcare centers must also obtain a business license.
"So, the City and the State work together but all licenses are from the State," said Toby Librande, Child Care Coordinator for the City of Milpitas.
In 2002, the City of Milpitas adopted its Child Care Master Plan which discusses childcare issues within the City. Librande is responsible for overseeing the plan's implementation.
"Part of my job is helping parents find childcare," Librande said. "When you find a program you like, you can call Community Care Licensing in San Jose for information about licensed child care providers."
There are many resources for providers and parents. The Milpitas Alliance for Better Childcare is a support group that meets monthly and covers issues such as training, curriculum and safety.
"Anybody interested in family childcare is invited to our meeting. Please contact me in advance," added Librande.
Childcare master plans, grants, support groups and the position of childcare coordinator are not typically found in most cities. According to Librande, Milpitas is a model city when it comes to childcare.
Librande co-chairs the Inclusion Collaborative, a county endeavor that considers how to support children with special needs alongside children without such needs.
Childcare providers may look after only specific age groups. The age ranges are narrow resulting in many groups. A provider may legally care for a limited number of children in the chosen age groups. The licensing agency wishes to ensure childcare is manageable. Infants require more care than young children who, in turn, need more than older children.
Childcare providers, who have been licensed for one year in Milpitas can apply for a Milpitas Child Care Provider Grant funded by the City's General Fund. The goal of this program is to raise the quality of family childcare. Grants, up to $500, are subject to availability and can be used in many ways such as purchasing resources they cannot otherwise afford or enhancing direct services to children.
The licensing agency gives Librande a list of licensed family child-carers in Milpitas and he sends application information to those who are eligible. Librande reviews grant applications to determine what fits the program. Providers must spend the funds for the stated intent on their application.
Milpitas has approximately 80 licensed providers. This year only 12 grant applications were received and all were approved.
The application form is available on the City's website and can be submitted at any time. Applications are reviewed in July, the start of the fiscal year. The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Commission reviews eligible candidates and recommends grant awards to Council in September.
Applications from licensed, special-needs care providers receive priority consideration. However, children with special needs have a protected status. The grant applicant must obtain parental consent to indicate that the application relates to special needs. Such providers do not have to report that they supply special needs services but will not receive priority.
For more information contact Toby Librande at (408) 586-3077 or firstname.lastname@example.org