Enhanced Child Care Referrals For First Responders and Essential Workers

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the YMCA's Childcare Resource Service is offering enhanced child care referral services to help essential critical infrastructure workers, health care workers, and first responders find licensed daycare and child care in San Diego County. This includes a specialized child care referral search within our database of licensed family child care homes and centers.

Since 1980, the YMCA has been the only state-funded child care resource and referral agency in San Diego County, and offers this child care referral service at no cost.

Those that qualify can call our dedicated line for first responders and essential service workers: (619) 952-0242. One of our advisors will work with you to locate a provider that matches your family's immediate needs.

Hours of Availability

  • Monday through Friday — 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Saturday and Sunday — 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Call Our Dedicated Line Now

If the phone line is busy, please leave a message with your name and contact information — we will return your call as soon as possible. Our phone line is staffed at all times, and this is a dedicated line for health and emergency response fields.


Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Qualify as an Essential Critical Infrastructure Worker?

To find out if you qualify, check out the official California list of essential critical infrastructure workers here. In general though, our enhanced referral service is dedicated to first responders, health care workers, and law enforcement.

I Don't Qualify — Can I Still Receive a Child Care Referral?

Absolutely! Anyone can receive the same service by calling our traditional child care referral line: 1-800-481-2151. Child care providers can also be found through our online search tool here, but we recommend using our referral telephone line to ensure parents receive the absolute best service.

What are Enhanced Child Care Referrals?

When essential critical infrastructure workers call our dedicated telephone line, they are connected with one of our friendly advisors who can perform a specialized search within our database of licensed family daycare/child care providers.

How Does a Child Care Referral Work?

  1. When a parent calls our referral line, they speak with a child care advisor (an actual person, not an automated service).
  2. Our advisor will ask the parent some questions to determine what type of child care they're looking for, and then end the call.
  3. Next, we will search for licensed local providers that match the calling parent's particular needs.
  4. Then we will contact each of the qualified providers that are found, confirming that they are available to immediately care for the child(ren) of that specific parent who called.
  5. Finally, the advisor emails the calling parent with a list of available providers who can immediately care for their child.

On average, most parents can expect to receive a list of available child care providers within two hours from when they called our service.

Do I Have to Call?

Enhanced child care referrals for essential critical infrastructure workers (including first responders and health care workers) are initiated through our dedicated line: (619) 952-0242.

However, any parent can also use the following methods:

Although we offer multiple methods for referrals, we encourage parents to call us to ensure they receive the best service available.

How Do We Know the Child Care Providers Are Safe and Clean?

While we are referring parents to licensed daycare and child care centers, we encourage parents to talk to the providers directly to determine what safety measures they have in place to protect from the novel COVID-19 virus.

Child care programs that remain open are encouraged to follow the Safety & Health Guidance – COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Childcare Programs from the California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Occupational Safety & Health (OSHA).

We also encourage parents to contact Community Care Licensing and review a child care provider’s status before enrolling their child:

  • San Diego Regional Office: (619) 767-2200
  • Riverside South-East Regional Office: (951) 782-4200 
    Covered SD County Zip Codes: 92003; 92027; 92054; 92058; 92082; 92086; 92025; 92028; 92056; 92061; 92083; 92026; 92029; 92057; 92081; 92084.

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Find More Family Resources and Community Support

For more resources supporting families and our community, check out our Virtual YMCA. We're dedicated to bringing you services that help strengthen your spirit, mind, and body from the comfort of your own home.

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