Who issues licenses for caregivers in the state of California?

15 answers | Last updated: Jul 21, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Hi Everybody. We're thinking of hiring a non medical caregiver for my mother in law who has early stage alzheimers. There are several listed in the classified section that say licensed caregiver. I would like to be able to check on the license status before I hire anyone, but I can't find any information on who actually issues these licenses for caregivers. Does anybody know who issues these caregiver licenses in California? Thank you so much for your input!


Expert Answers

As Founder and Director of Circles of Care, Ann Cason provides caregiving, consulting, and training services to individuals and public and private organizations involved in eldercare. She is the author of Circles of Care: How to Set Up Quality Home Care for Our Elders.

In California, there generally is not a license for non-medical caregivers.  This is different that a Certified Nursing Assistant or Certified Home Heatlh Aide. 

Personality is most important: warmth, patience, and adventurous. If your mother in law is forgetful or confused, that should not be frightening to the caregiver. 

Special training in working with dementia helps. Sometimes instead of a license the person might have a certificate which shows what kind of training or how many hours. 

If the person you want to hire does not have special training, but you like him or her, you might offer to pay for a course.  Or you might ask her to attend a support group and pay the extra time.  Call your local Alzheimer's association to find out what is offered in your area.  Or check with Caring.com's local resources.


Community Answers

M'lu answered...

No License for this very critical area is absurd - How can I find out about an individual that seems unqualified but has been hired by the rest of the family -

IF there are certificates, How can I get that information?


Daisymbrown2011 answered...

In the state of California there is a site which you can get your needed information, but I am sure other states have this information as well:

Area Agency on aging: Napa and Solano country: caregiver permit process: 707-643-1797 www.aaans.org

If you are not in California, do an internet search for "Area Agency on again" in your state or county.


A fellow caregiver answered...

I don't want to frighten anyone on this site, but would like to let you know of a recent incident we had with our estranged elderly father (78 years). We hadn't had contact with him for many years. At his death we discovered that his caregiver forged a trust amendment leaving her all his estate. In researching these girls (he had one before the last) we discovered they had criminal records. It's too late for us and was really out of our control, but please do background checks on whoever you choose to care for your parent(s). You don't want them being taken advantage of our being mistreated or having to be exposed to any shady characters.


Norma70 answered...

I am a caregiver myself and indeed we do not need a license but yes a background check and experience. Most of us professional caregivers are compassionate, adventourous and are CPR and First Aid certificated....just make sure whoever you hire has a backround check and you will be ok.....Some of the elderly i have worked for feel so grateful to me or any of us that they want to share their belongings, not necessarily have to be with them for many years...Family members hardly ever visit some of them and this is how they want to compensate their caregiver. It is hteir family fault they want to do this, of course we dont accept, but are grateful for their good intentions....SO IF YOU HAVE AN ELDERLY VISIT THEM OFTEN they feel abandoned, it is not fair to just show up when they are about to pass on...


Jdenges answered...

Yes Norma, you do sound like a very compasionate professional caregiver. Unfortunately for some families it isn't the family who chooses to end the relationship. Our parents divorced when I was 9 and only saw my dad about 4 times in the 32 years before he died. He only lived 4 miles away from us. He never met any of my 5 kids and he never looked for us or his grandkids. I knew he was getting older and the end would be coming at some point, but chose not to visit him since I didn't want him thinking I was only coming around at the end for the money. Trust me I wanted to check on him numerous times but couldn't live with the anger if he ever thought I was only coming around for the money. I did see him in the hospital when we were called and we were the last and only ones to visit besides his caregiver who forged his last will. I wish he hired a caregiver like you instead of the one who left him with coffee ground stools for 2 weeks before calling for medical help.


Harveys daughter answered...

Alameda County has a program called (IHSS) In-Home Supportive Services. It is through the Social Services Dept. I think it's exactly what you need. I believe most counties have programs like this. Call your local Social Services office in your county. They are a big help. Good Luck.


Jayt answered...

Agreed. Check out IHSS or CMEDHI. Both of these programs train certified caregivers and can help you find qualified assistance for your loved one.


Legendary831 answered...

IHSS does NOT do a thorough hiring process. They search for help on Craigslist. Do your homework. A lic or certification does not always make a great companion or caregiver. REFERENCES, thorough interview, supervised trial periods, hiring a healthcare liaison (like a property manager for property or like a wedding planner for wedding time) has the experience needed to take responsibility to supervise the caregiver team and report to the family. They manage medications, the client, run the background checks and handles the scedules hiring and firing. I am an expert in this area, and actually do this for a living. Don't just hire anyone and moreover, follow your gut.


A fellow caregiver answered...

If you are providing care on any level , then you should be certified. Personally, I recommend the American Caregiver Association, as the are a preferred provider for CalPERS Long-Term Care, and the national certifying organization for caregivers. There website is www.americancaregiverassociation.org

Beyond that, it's all about checking references, background, work history, and doing a thorough interview, as others have eluded to. Also, caregivers are not "licensed", they are considered "non-medical.", so they are "certified." And, just because you are "certified", this does not equate to compassion, and doing a "good job" as a caregiver. It really is about having your heart in the right place.


A fellow caregiver answered...

AB-1217 Home Care Services Consumer Protection Act, that took effect in late 2014 requires that non-medical in-home caregivers must have a) background check (livescan) b) received 5 hour training and c) registered with the state of California through CDSS Home Care Bureau. The regulations is highly stringent as any misdemeanor has to be qualified otherwise individuals can't work as caregivers.


Amorin26 answered...

I am a Caregiver myself and I work for an agency called Nurse Next Door. When we are hired we are out through a background check, required to get TB checks and so forth. The beginning of 2016 we were also required to registure with the state of California to be licensed caregivers and complete a livescan. Depending on where you are I would look into an agency and look at what those qualifications are. They can also help with answering questions as well. Hope that helps.


Twilliamson answered...

I am grateful for the information. I am a caregiver for a gentleman who is the father of a family member. I want to become a caregiver for others. My background is impeccable. My finances are sound. I will be looking into these web sites. thank you.


A fellow caregiver answered...

As of 2016, the Calif. Dept. of Social Services requires non-medical caregivers to apply and be listed on on a Home Care Aide Registry. THey must also be fingerprinted with DOJ and FBI. 5 hours of training is also required, whether you work for a home care company or are working own your own. It is now the law as of 2016. Contact the Dept. of Social Services to see a list of names of those registered. I work for a non-medical home care provider, and all of or caregivers had to go through this process.


A fellow caregiver answered...

This isn't an answer but after reading some stuff on web about caregivers versus non lics / license..etc because I don't have pic but I care for 78 old female with dementia. I live in full time I get room n board plus I drive her car that I put gas and pay the ins. Wit 150.00 week , I'm sorry but this doesn't seem fair or right. When hired on I was making 200.00 wk but that stopped 4 months in. I was under the impression that once the paperwork was done then the county wood pay the rest which would have been more like 5-700 week. So after about 8 months in the family tells me that they denied our request due to the fact she made just at the mark that says she makes too much money. So after that news I hit with all they can afford to pay is 15o weekly. 7 days a week 24 hours a day.