Resource and referral agencies are located in every county in California; some large counties have more than one agency and a few small counties share an agency with a neighboring county. Over the last two decades, R&R services have evolved from a grassroots effort to help parents find child care, to a well-developed system that supports parents, providers and local communities in finding, planning for and providing affordable, quality child care. The state, through the California Department of Education, Child Development Division, has supported these efforts since 1976.

Local resource and referral agencies:

  • help parents find child care that best meets their family needs;

  • document parents’ requests for child care services;

  • maintain comprehensive databases of child care providers in their communities, including licensed family child care homes and child care centers;

  • track providers’ licensing status, languages they speak, age groups they serve, schedules they offer and number of spaces available in centers or family child care homes;

  • work with providers to improve the quality of child care and to maintain and expand the supply of child care in each county;

  • provide training and other services that help providers stay in business; and,

  • educate local communities and leaders to understand child care issues and to plan effectively to address child care needs.