Child Care and Development Programs

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This page offers an overview of California’s subsidized child care and development programs.

 Voucher-based Child Care

The programs described below provide vouchers for families to obtain care in licensed child care centers, licensed family child care homes, or license-exempt care. The family may choose the type of care that their child receives.

  • CalWORKs Stage One Child Care: This program provides child care to CalWORKs families when they first become engaged in welfare-to-work activities. The California Department of Social Services administers the Stage One Child Care program through county welfare departments. Families can stay in Stage One Child Care until they have been off cash aid for 24 months. For more information about Stage One Child Care, please visit our CalWORKs child care webpage.

  • CalWORKs Stage Two Child Care (C2AP): CalWORKs families move to this program when the county welfare department determines they are stable. Families can remain in Stage Two or Stage One until they have been off cash aid for 24 months. CDSS contracts with Alternative Payment Program (APP) agencies to administer Stage Two. Small portions of the services in Stage Two are also administered by the California Community College system through on-campus centers or vouchers for students. For more information about Stage Two Child Care, please visit our CalWORKs child care webpage.

  • CalWORKs Stage Three Child Care (C3AP): Families that have exhausted 24 months of CalWORKs Stage One or CalWORKs Stage Two Child Care after they have been off cash aid transition to Stage Three Child Care. This program provides care if funding is available, and if the family's income remains at or below 85% of the state median income. CDSS contracts with Alternative Payment Program agencies to administer this program. For more information about Stage Three Child Care, please visit our CalWORKs child care webpage.

  • Alternative Payment Program (CAPP): Alternative payment programs use federal and state funding to provide vouchers for eligible low-income families. Alternative Payment Program agencies helps families enrolled in CalWORKs Child Care or CAPP arrange child care services and makes payment for those services directly to the child care provider selected by the family.

  • Migrant Alternative Payment Program (CMAP): Migrant Alternative Payment Programs (CMAP) Migrant Alternative Payment programs issue vouchers to eligible, migrant families that can be used to purchase child care and development services with child care providers throughout California's central valley. This program provides services for children birth through 12 years of age, and for older children with exceptional needs. Funding for services follows families as they move from place to place for agricultural work.

  • Emergency Child Care Bridge Program for Foster Children (Bridge Program): The Bridge Program addresses child care needs as a barrier for families otherwise willing to bring a child in the foster care system into their home, and for parenting youth in the foster care system. It provides time limited vouchers for child care and child care navigator services. There is also Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) training and coaching component for child care providers to enhance their ability to provide nurturing and safe environments for children. The Bridge Program is not an entitlement, instead it is a time limited “bridge” to long-term child care solutions used at the time of placement to stabilize children in the best possible settings ensuring that caretakers have adequate support to balance their work and home lives. For more infromation about the Bridge Program, please visit our Bridge Program webpage.

Direct Contracts – Title 5 Subsidized Child Care

Center-based direct-contract child care and development programs are administered by CDSS and the California Department of Education (CDE). CDE administers the California State Preschool Program while CDSS administers the General Child Care Program (CCTR), the Severely Handicapped Program (CHAN) and the Family Child Care Education Home Networks (CFCC) Program. To operate these prorams, the State contracts directly with child care centers and Family Child Care Home Education Networks for a fixed number of child care slots. Title 5 contracted programs must meet Title 5 and Title 22 regulations. However, Title 5 regulations require more stringent child-to-adult ratios and staff qualification than Title 22 programs.

  • General Child Care and Development (CCTR): General Child Care and Development Programs, including CCTR and Family Child Care Home Education Networks, are state and federally funded programs that use centers and family child care home networks operated or administered by either public or private agencies and local educational agencies. These contractors provide child development services for children from birth through 12 years of age and older children with exceptional needs as well. These programs provide an educational component that is developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate for the children served. The programs also provide meals and snacks to children, parent education, referrals to health and social services for families, and staff development opportunities to employees.

  • Migrant Child Care and Development Programs (CMIG): Migrant child care and development programs use centers and family child care home networks operated or administered by either public or private agencies and local educational agencies. These programs provide child care and development services for children from birth through 12 years of age and older children with exceptional needs. These programs provide care that is culturally, linguistically, and developmentally appropriate for the children served. The programs also provide meals and snacks to children, parent education, referrals to health and social services for agricultural families, and staff development opportunities to employees.

  • Children with Severe Disabilities (CHAN): The child care and development services for children with severe disabilities program provides federal and state funds for providing children with exceptional needs with additional access to child care and development programs up to 21 years of age. The program is located in the San Francisco Bay Area.

  • Family Child Care Education Home Networks (CFCC): Family Child Care Education Home Networks (CFCC) serve families eligible for subsidized care. CFFC are a consortia of licensed family child care homes in a community that provide child care and development services, parenting education, social and health services referrals. Family Child Care Education Home Networks also provide training for child care providers and their staff as well as quality assessments of participating licensed family child care homes, development profiles for the children enrolled in the program and support parent involvement.

  • California State Preschool Program (CSPP): The California State Preschool Program (CSPP) is administered by the California Department of Education (CDE). The CSPP provides both part-day and full-day services that provides a core class curriculum that is developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate for the children served. The program also offers meals and snacks to children, parent education, referrals to health and social services and staff development opportunities to employees. CSPP is administered by the CDE through local educational agencies, colleges, community-action agencies, and private nonprofit agencies. Please reach out to CDE for questions or support related to CSPP. You can find your assigned regional CDE consultant on the CDE Consultant Regional Assignments Webpage.

 The California Head Start State Collaboration Office

Head Start is a national program administered by the Office of Head Start (OHS) within the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Department of Health and Human Services. Head Start programs provide comprehensive developmental services for children from low-income households from birth to entry into elementary school. California's Head Start program is the largest in the nation.  In California, many Head Start programs use both Head Start funding and federal and state funding to provide a full year and full day of services for children and families who qualify. As a result, the California Head Start State Collaboration Office (CHSSCO) exists “to facilitate collaboration among Head Start agencies and entities that carry out activities designed to benefit low-income children from birth to school entry, and their families.” The CHSSCO partners with State agencies and local entities to leverage their common interests around young children and their families to formulate, implement, and improve state and local policy and practices. For more about the CHSSCO and the work, please visit the Head Start Collaboration Office website.

        

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Child Care and Development Division
744 P Street M.S. 9-8-360
Sacramento, CA 95814 

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