License-exempt care

What is license-exempt care?
Child care providers and facilities legally operating without a license are referred to as license-exempt. If care is provided to someone's own child(ren) or those of a relative, and children from only one other family, then a child care license is not required and the provider is legally exempt (license-exempt) from licensure requirements in California. If care and supervision are provided to non-relative children from more than one family in the home or non-residential facility for periods of less than 24 hours, a license is likely needed.

Training and support
  • Workshops on child development, health, nutrition, and safety issues;
  • Pre-licensing consultation, support, and visits for new providers;
  • Workforce development services;
  • Events calendar for topics and dates.


TrustLine background check system

TrustLine is California’s official and most comprehensive background check for in-home caregivers (babysitters and nannies). Since these child care providers don’t need to be licensed, it’s important to make sure you’re placing your child with someone you can trust.
TrustLine, administered by the California Department of Social Services and the nonprofit California Child Care Resource and Referral Network, is the only authorized screening program of license-exempt caregivers in the state and has access to fingerprint records at the California Department of Justice, the FBI, and the California Child Abuse Central Index.
TrustLine is an effective tool for parents to check the backgrounds of babysitters, nannies, tutors, and in-home counselors to determine if an applicant has criminal convictions or substantiated child abuse reports in California or criminal convictions reported to the FBI.
TrustLine is the only background check authorized by state law to use three databases that the general public, including private investigators and private background check companies, cannot access. These databases include the fingerprint records from the California Department of Justice’s California Criminal History System and FBI’s Criminal History System, and a name check of the Child Abuse Central Index of California.
TrustLine costs approximately $135. While the total background check fee through TrustLine remains consistent, the fingerprint rolling fee varies depending on where the person is fingerprinted and how much the vendor charges to roll the applicant’s prints.
All employment agencies (nanny and baby-sitter placement agencies) are required by law to register their caregivers with TrustLine upon placement. Transport and escort services also are required by law to TrustLine register individuals who are transporting minors. (Transport and escort services transport minors across state lines to residential facilities with permission from the minor’s parents or legal guardian). Businesses providing ancillary child care centers to customers or clients while the customers or clients shop or obtain services (i.e., health clubs and gyms) must register on TrustLine any staff members who are 18 years of age or older who work in the child care center. Child care providers who are not required to be licensed in California (babysitters, nannies, etc.) and those who are providing child care to parents receiving a governmental child care subsidy (except grandparents, aunts, and uncles) are required by law to register with TrustLine.
TrustLine is an effective tool for parents to check the background of a babysitter or nanny. Thousands of applicants who apply to be on the TrustLine registry are disqualified because of criminal activity in their past. TrustLine has denied applicants with convictions such as murder, manslaughter, willful child cruelty, and kidnapping. 

TrustLine is just one important tool, but it is a parent's obligation to make an informed and educated hiring decision. Remember to trust your instinct and take all precautionary steps available. Review our tips for choosing quality care


Check to see if someone has passed the criminal history background check and is registered with TrustLine by calling 1-800-822-8490