The Toddler Care Center was established as a non-profit in 1976 by two working women who were concerned about the lack of quality care for very young children. The first of its kind in the Western States, the Toddler Care Center bases its philosophy and methods on the model of the Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE) program founded by Magda Gerber.
Educators and administrators from as far as New Zealand and Japan have visited the Toddler Care Center; it is described as a model program for childcare by professionals in the field.
The primary mission of the Santa Cruz Toddler Care Center is to address this community's critical need for quality, affordable child care for children 12 - 36 months old whose parents must work, attend school or training programs. The Santa Cruz Toddler Care Center's secondary purpose is acting as a model to other child care centers throughout the community, the state, and the nation.