Child Care Program Eligibility

The state's child care system includes several programs, each addressing different child care needs. The California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) Child Care Program was established in 1997 to provide subsidized services for welfare program participants and low-income families. CalWORKs child care is administered in three stages.  Stage One is administered by the California Department of Social Services, while Stages Two and Three are administered by the California Department of Education.  Stages One and Two services are considered to be an entitlement; however, Stage Three services are dependent on fund availability. 

CalWORKs cash aid recipients are eligible for Stage One and Stage Two child care based on their eligibility for cash aid.  Families must also have a need for care such as being employed or participating in a county approved welfare-to-work activities. CalWORKs participants have good cause for not participating in required welfare-to-work activities or employment if adequate child care is not available. 

For Additional Information

Family Fees: Some clients are required to pay a share of their child care costs, known as family fees. These fees do not apply to families receiving CalWORKs cash aid, safety net families, or sanctioned families.  Each family pays a single fee based on their income relative to their family size. The maximum family fee is approximately ten percent of the family’s income. The family fee table is located on the CDE website at:

Contact Us

CDSS Child Care Programs Bureau
744 P Street MS 8-8-139
Sacramento, CA 95817  
(916) 657-2144

Child Care Quick Links