Child Care Information

Child Care within San Mateo

The City of San Mateo recognizes the importance of quality child care and the role child care and preschool programs play in the development of the children of our community.

San Mateo has a strong commitment to develop innovative approaches to increase the supply of child care spaces within our community and strives to serve as a model for other communities in the country.

Whether you're looking for quality child care programs for your children, or a provider looking to start or expand your child care business, or a developer interested in including child care in your project, the links below will offer a variety of references and resources to help you in your search.


For the development of a Child Care Center, as mentioned in the Child Care Start Up Guide above, it is strongly encouraged that you consult with City staff in Planning, Building, & Fire early in your planning phase to discuss the feasibility of your project plan. This is necessary to determine if it complies with all requisites, the processes required, and to assess for yourself if you have planned for and are ready to address those requirements. These links are additional resources to research as part of your planning.
  • County of San Mateo Human Services - Child Care
  • "San Mateo County's Child Care specialists can help connect your family with quality licensed child care, parent education, special needs resources and other vital children's services. In addition, families currently or previously enrolled in CalWORKS cash assistance programs may be eligible for free or subsidized childcare."

Developing Child Care

As an essential part of both the California and local economy, it is important to consider as many opportunities as possible for the provision of quality child care for our community residents and businesses. With an ongoing challenge of meeting the need for expanding the number of child care spaces, the City of San Mateo strongly encourages developers of both commercial and housing properties to consider the inclusion of child care facilities in your projects. 

  • City of San Mateo Interim Child Care Fund Guidelines
    The City of San Mateo has a Child Care Development Fee which funds the Child Care Fund. The designated use of this fund is to provide financial assistance in the development of new child care spaces. These funds are allowed only for capital expenditures with the result of increased number of child care spaces. This interim set of Guidelines were approved by the City Council in October 2018. Future edits of these Guidelines will be addressed upon the completion of the City's General Plan revision.
  • Build Up for San Mateo County's Children
    Multiple partners within the County of San Mateo have been focused on this increasingly urgent need to develop new child care spaces to meet the shortage crisis and child care needs of all of our families.  This local initiative is a resource to many different stakeholders who all have a strong interest in finding solutions. There are resources, data, and other information available on their website.
 For more information regarding the development of child care facilities, the following are links to a few resources that may be helpful in providing planning tools and additional information. More brochures and resources available at the individual websites.

    • Building Child Care in California
      A centralized clearinghouse of information and services to increase the California child care sector's understanding of the facilities development process and access to facilities development resources. Part of the original LINCC program described below.
    • WDBG - Whole Building Design Guideline
      "The Child Care described in these resources are specific to the facilities required for child care services permitted within federal facilities. However, these standards tend to be the most comprehensive facilities standards available at present, sometimes cited in state and municipal codes. They also reference Building Child Care in California, listed above.
    • Local Investment in Child Care (LINCC)
      Local Investment in Child Care (LINCC) was an innovative project designed to build on infrastructure that supports child care facilities development, renovation, and expansion in California. Though no longer active in San Mateo County, project information and many publications and links to resources are available through this Alameda County Early Care & Education Planning Council webpage.
    • Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) - Child Care Programs
      Child care/Preschool facilities planning, development and improvement resources; Affordable Buildings for Children's Development (ABCD) financing, developer assistance, and Constructing Connections community collaborative.
    • Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)
      Community Investment Collaborative for Kids (CICK): Financial and technical assistance to develop and improve child care centers. The series of publications include facility design and development guides.