Child Care Resource

Are you looking for Child Care? The Office of Human Services maintains a listing and map of licensed child care centers and homes * in Palo Alto.  There are over 80 local providers who pride themselves in offering a wide variety of care options:

  • Infant, toddler, Pre-K, Kindergarten and school age care
  • Full and Part-Time Care
  • Center and home-based care
  • Variety of program philosophies
  • Language based programs
  • Located in each region of the City

The City also provides child care subsidy assistance for income-eligible residents (administered by Palo Alto Community Child Care), and administers contracts for the provision of after-school child care at 12 PAUSD elementary school sites. We also offer resource information for providers on how to open a child care facility in Palo Alto. The Office of Human Services also provides support to the Palo Alto Early Care and Education Committee which reports to the City Manager on child care and early learning issues.

Types of Childcare

Child Care Centers

A Child Care Center (or Day Care Center) is usually located in a commercial building. Non-medical care and supervision is provided for infant to school age children in a group setting for periods of less than 24 hours.

Family Child Care Homes

A Family Child Care Home must be in the licensee's own home. A Family Child Care Home reflects a home-like environment where non-medical care and supervision is provided for periods of less than 24 hours.

There are Small Family Child Care Homes and Large Family Child Care Homes.

  • Small Family Child Care Homes provide care to no more than 8 children.
  • Large Family Child Care Homes provide care to no more than 14 children.

Choosing a Licensed Childcare Program

Choosing a program for your infant, preschooler, or school age child is a very personal choice for each family. The best program is the one that matches your own child’s needs, style, and interests and is compatible with your family’s philosophies, language preference, location and schedule needs, and should provide a safe environment that is fun, educational, and nurturing. 

Visit the State of California Community Care Licensing Division to search any child care programs you are interested in and view the more current data on state visits, inspections and license status.

The Child Care Resource & Referral listing is provided as a referral, not a recommendation. The City of Palo Alto does not license, screen for quality of care, or endorse any provider. The City of Palo Alto does, however, offer the educational information on selecting quality child care provided on this page and encourages parents to visit child care providers before making their decision.

Assessment of the Needs of Families with Young Children

Palo Alto prides itself on being a community rich in assets, services, and opportunities for families with young children. This stems from a long history of considering and prioritizing the needs of families and young children in the community through our programs, services, amenities and events. However, the needs of families have changed over the ensuing years including more women in the workforce, an exponential increase in non-traditional work schedules and modes, technological advances, coupled with the high cost of living. As a community we needed to ask ourselves: How are families and their young children doing? What programs, supports and services is our community offering them and does it meet their needs? What are the child care needs of families? What challenges do our child care providers face?