Eligibility and Priority FAQsThe Frequently Asked Questions on Eligibility and Priority for CSPP.
Transfers between General Childcare (CCTR) and California State Preschool Program (CSPP)
Children with Exceptional Needs Eligibility
CSPP Neighborhood School Eligibility Based on Neighboring Elementary School FRPM Status
Eligibility and Priority Changes Beginning January 1, 2023
What are the requirements for transferring children from General Child Care and Development (CCTR) (infant-toddler) to CSPP?The family will be issued a notice of action switching the child from General Child Care and Development (CCTR) to the California State Preschool Program (CSPP) but would continue the 12 or 24-month eligibility they were certified for in CCTR – once the 12 or 24-month eligibility is up, the family would recertify and receive 24-month eligibility in CSPP. The California Department of Education (CDE) would like to remind contractors that parents can request to be recertified at any time to extend their eligibility. For example, a parent can request to recertify at time of transfer into CSPP in order to extend their eligibility to 24-months at the time of enrollment in CSPP.
What are the requirements for transferring children from CSPP to CCTR (school-age)?24-month eligibility for the California State Preschool Program (CSPP) is dependent on the child being age-eligible for the program; therefore, the family’s eligibility certification for CSPP ends once the child ages out (California Education Code [EC] 8208[e]). Applicable age limitations for part-day and full-day CSPP are contained in 5 California Code of Regulations (CCR) 17749, and EC 48000(l) for children enrolled in part-day CSPP for extended learning and care. As a reminder, contractors must also pay close attention when looking at eligibility for children moving from CSPP into General Child Care and Development (CCTR), as not all children enrolled in CSPP will be eligible for CCTR. For example, CSPP allows families with incomes up to 100 percent of the state median income (SMI) to enroll, while the income eligibility limit in CCTR remains 85 percent of the SMI. Some CSPP sites are eligible to enroll children under CSPP Neighborhood School Eligibility based on the share of students eligible for free- or reduced-price meals (FRPM) at local schools, whereas CCTR does not have this option. Contractors should contact the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to determine the required documentation when enrolling a child into CCTR.
Do families really get a full 24 months of eligibility?Part-day families will be certified as eligible for the remainder of the current program year and the following program year when enrolling children, provided the child continues to meet age eligibility requirements. Note that contractors can begin enrolling families 120 days prior to the beginning of a new program year, and in those cases the child will be enrolled for two full program years.
Full-day families will be certified for a full consecutive 24 months as long as the child continues to meet age-eligibility requirements for CSPP. However, in the event that the eligibility period ends before the end of a program year (for example: eligibility ends in February), eligibility shall be extended until the end of the program year, as long as applicable age-eligibility requirements are met. In addition, children who were enrolled in full-day CSPP prior to June 30 and will be moving to Transitional Kindergarten (TK) or kindergarten (K) in the fall are able to remain enrolled in CSPP (without recertifying) for the summer immediately preceding their enrollment into TK or K, through September 30 or the start of TK/K - whichever is sooner.
What is considered a “program year” for CSPP?The program year for full-day CSPP runs from July 1, through June 30, which is also in line with the state fiscal year. The part-day CSPP program year is consistent with the program’s approved calendar. These dates will fall between July 1 and June 30 and exact dates may be different for each program.
If a child is not age-eligible for two consecutive program years or a full 24-month period, do they get disenrolled?Yes, children will be disenrolled from CSPP prior to the end of their 24-month eligibility period once they are no longer age-eligible for California State Preschool Program (CSPP). For example, any child whose fifth birthday occurs on or before September 1 of the CSPP program year (and thus is age-eligible to attend kindergarten that year) will no longer be eligible to remain in CSPP after they begin kindergarten or as of September 30, whichever comes first. However, if a family with a child enrolled in part-day CSPP chooses to keep their child enrolled in part-day CSPP for extended learning and care once the child is enrolled in kindergarten, pursuant to EC 48000(l), this is allowed.
Can you please explain the “age-eligibility requirements are met” under part day and full day 24-month eligibility? E.g. if a child enrolled in CSPP turns 5 in January, would a program be required to disenroll the child before the end of the school year?If the child is age-eligible at the time of enrollment, they will continue to meet age-eligibility requirements for California State Preschool Program (CSPP) for the remainder of the program year. There are no circumstances in which a child would be age-eligible at enrollment, but not be age-eligible for CSPP mid-program year. The inclusion of the language “provided the child continues to meet age-eligibility” is referencing circumstances when a child may be age-eligible for the first 12-months but is not age-eligible for CSPP in the second 12-months of their 24-month eligibility period. In those instances, the child will not be certified for a full 24-months of eligibility.
When do contractors disenroll a child and family if the 24-month eligibility ends in the middle of the program year?Children enrolled in part-day California State Preschool Program (CSPP) will receive services for the remainder of the program year in which the family certifies and the next full program year, without needing to be recertified. Families that enroll prior to the start of the part-day program year will receive services for two full program years provided the child remains age-eligible for CSPP in the second program year.
The California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR) section 17749(c) allows children that were enrolled in full-day CSPP prior to June 30, to remain enrolled in CSPP for the summer immediately preceding their enrollment into kindergarten until September 30, or the start of kindergarten, whichever is sooner without being recertified. EC 48000(l) permits children enrolled in part-day CSPP who are age-eligible for kindergarten to remain in part-day CSPP if the child is also enrolled in kindergarten and the part-day program offers CSPP extended learning and care services.
Is 24-month eligibility only for children enrolled on or after July 1, 2022?Part-day: Any family receiving part-day services in the 2022–23 program year will receive services for the remainder of the 2022–23 program year and the 2023–24 program year provided the child remains age-eligible for California State Preschool Program (CSPP). Contractors must update the Notice of Action (NOA) accordingly.
Full-day: For children enrolled on or after July 1, 2022, contractors must issue a NOA for each family to notify the family that their 12-month eligibility has been extended to 24 months of eligibility if they were not already certified for 24-month eligibility.
If the child was enrolled prior to July 1, 2022, the contractor must wait until recertification to certify the family for 24-months; however, parents can voluntarily request to recertify early in order to extend their eligibility to 24-months sooner.
How should contractors notify the family if the family does not receive a full 24-month eligibility period because the child is no longer age-eligible?If a child will no longer be age-eligible for California State Preschool Program (CSPP) during the 24-month period, the contractor will indicate on the NOA the date the child will be disenrolled from the CSPP. Contractors should be able to determine at the time of enrollment if the child will or will not be age-eligible for the remainder of the family’s 24-month eligibility period and must indicate it on the NOA at that time.
Is 24-month eligibility for a child or a family? For example, if a 4-year-old enrolled in the 2022–23 program year and a sibling is eligible to enroll for the 2023–24 program year do contractors need to collect new enrollment information and have different eligibility timelines for both children?When an additional sibling is enrolled in California State Preschool Program (CSPP), contractors must collect the required documentation for the sibling (including another eligibility factor if the first child is enrolled under a child-specific eligibility category [exceptional needs, child protective services or at-risk]) and the sibling would be added on to the original 24-month period beginning when the first child was enrolled in CSPP. In this example, both children would have eligibility until the end of the 2023–24 program year and the younger sibling would need to be recertified before the beginning of the 2024–25 program year to continue in CSPP. As a reminder to contractors, parents can voluntarily request to recertify at any time, including when adding a new sibling to the certification.
We have MANY families with CCTR toddlers and CSPP preschoolers. How should we handle their certification time frame? Do we certify the family for 12 or 24 months?When contractors enroll a family in two different state funded programs – for example one child in California State Preschool Program (CSPP) and another in General Child Care and Development (CCTR) – they can complete one application for the family’s services and indicate on the Notice of Action (NOA) that the eligibility for the child in the CCTR program is 12 months (or 24 months beginning January 1, 2023) from the date of certification and the eligibility for the child in the CSPP program is 24 months from the date of certification.
Do families enrolled on the basis of seeking employment get certified for 24-month eligibility?Yes, all families regardless of the basis of eligibility or need will receive 24-month eligibility if the child remains age-eligible.
Do families need to submit additional documentation after the first 12 months of their certification in order to receive the full 24-month eligibility?No, once families are certified for services they receive 24-month eligibility. No additional documentation is required to receive the full 24-month certification.
If families exceed the income guidelines during their 24-month eligibility, are they still required to notify the contractor if their income exceeds the income threshold?Yes, all families enrolled on the basis of income eligibility (including families enrolled with income that is 15 percent above the income threshold) are required to report when their income exceeds the allowable income threshold. In the case of families enrolled with income that is 15 percent above the income eligibility threshold, they would report if their income exceeded more than 15 percent above 100 percent of the state median income (SMI).
With 24-month eligibility can families choose to keep their child enrolled in CSPP rather than go to kindergarten?No. The California State Preschool Program (CSPP) is not a substitute for kindergarten. Contractors should note that children who are age-eligible for kindergarten must be enrolled in kindergarten to receive extended learning and care outside of the hours the child is enrolled in kindergarten through part-day CSPP.
How are children with exceptional needs prioritized?Children with exceptional needs, hereinafter referred to as children with disabilities, that are enrolled in California State Preschool Program (CSPP) and count within the 5-10 percent set-aside do not follow the typical priority order. These families within the set-aside are enrolled only in income ranking order.
Once the set aside is filled, if additional children with disabilities are enrolling and the family has income that is below the income threshold, the child with disabilities would be prioritized second.
Within the fifth priority, children from families with incomes no more than 15 percent above the income threshold, children with disabilities are prioritized over children without disabilities. All other children with disabilities from families with incomes that exceed 15 percent over the income threshold are not prioritized for services and may receive services only after all other families are enrolled according to their priority.
Are the siblings of the child with disabilities eligible for CSPP?Only the children in the family who are children with disabilities with an active individualized family service plan (IFSP) or individualized education program (IEP) may be enrolled under the child with disabilities eligibility criteria. Any other child in the family without disabilities may be enrolled based on the other eligibility categories that the family or child qualifies for.
What is the definition of a child with exceptional needs or severe disabilities?
Education Code (EC) 8205(h) defines “Children with exceptional needs” as either of the following:
(1) Children under three years of age who have been determined to be eligible for early intervention services pursuant to the California Early Intervention Services Act (Title 14 (commencing with Section 95000) of the Government Code) and its implementing regulations. These children include an infant or toddler with a developmental delay or established risk condition, or who is at high risk of having a substantial developmental disability, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 95014 of the Government Code. These children shall have active individualized family service plans and shall be receiving early intervention services.
(2) Children 3 to 21 years of age, inclusive, who have been determined to be eligible for special education and related services by an individualized education program team according to the special education requirements contained in Part 30 (commencing with Section 56000) of Division 4 of Title 2, and who meet eligibility criteria described in Section 56026 and, Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 56333) of Chapter 4 of Part 30 of Division 4 of Title 2, and Sections 3030 and 3031 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR). These children shall have an active individualized education program and shall be receiving early intervention services or appropriate special education.
EC 8205(s) defines “Children with severe disabilities” as children with exceptional needs from birth to 21 years of age, inclusive, who require intensive instruction and training in programs serving pupils with the following profound disabilities: autism, blindness, deafness, severe orthopedic impairments, serious emotional disturbances, or severe intellectual disabilities. “Children with severe disabilities” also include those individuals who would have been eligible for enrollment in a developmental center for handicapped pupils under Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 56800) of Part 30 of Division 4 of Title 2 as it read on January 1, 1980.
If a child is categorically eligible based on having a disability, are contractors still required to collect the family's income?Yes, families enrolling children under this eligibility criteria will be required to self-certify their incomes for purposes of prioritization and family fees.
Pursuant to 5 California Code of Regulations (CCR) 17734(j), all contractors must still assess a family fee for all full-day families, unless explicitly exempted in statute. Families enrolled on an eligibility basis other than being income eligible are required to self-certify their income for the purposes of assessing a family fee. Pursuant to 5 CCR 17734(k), families whose incomes are higher than the maximum income for their family size represented on the annual family fee schedule shall pay the highest fee rate for their family size.
Family fees are waived for all families effective July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023. For more information on family fees, please refer to the upcoming Management Bulletin (MB) on family fees.
What are the various categories of eligibility for CSPP?For California State Preschool Program (CSPP), there are multiple categories of eligibility that a family could be eligible for services under.
A family would be deemed categorically eligible for services if they are determined to be any of the following:
- A current cash aid recipient;
- Have a member of the household participating in certain designated means-tested government programs (as of January 1, 2023)
- Experiencing homeless
- One whose children are recipients of child protective services, or whose children have been identified as being abused, neglected, or exploited, or at risk of being abused, neglected, or exploited
- One that has children with disabilities, as defined in Section 8205
Families that are eligible for services based on the above eligibility categories are only required to meet that specific eligibility. For example, if a family is eligible for services based on experiencing homelessness, they can be certified as eligible for CSPP services without also demonstrating income eligibility.
Another avenue of eligibility for CSPP is for families that are eligible based on their income.
The two above categories of eligibility are available to all families in all CSPPs. However, there are additional ways that a family could be eligible for services if the contractor or site has additional spaces available after all other children above are enrolled, including:
- Families with incomes that are no more than 15 percent over the income threshold.
- Families that reside within and seek to have their children attend a CSPP site that is within the attendance boundary of an elementary school with 80 percent of children receiving free and reduced-price meals.
If families are categorically eligible, do they still have a family fee in full-day CSPP?
Categorical eligibility does not necessarily waive the requirement for the family to be assessed a family fee. Family fees are only waived when specifically exempt pursuant to Education Code (EC) section 8253. This would currently include only families that are current cash aid recipients and families with children receiving child protective services, for up to 12 months, if it is required by the services plan.
Do pilot policies around 24-month eligibility supersede statute and regulation?Typically, pilot policies that allow for longer periods of eligibility are permitted to supersede conflicting statutes and regulations. With the change to 24-month eligibility for all California State Preschool Program (CSPP) contractors, CSPP pilot policies that currently allow for periods of eligibility longer than 12 months will either:
- Need to be updated to allow for at least 24 months of eligibility; or
- For pilot counties that already have a 24-month eligibility policy, they will find that it is not necessary to have such a policy anymore with the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 1047.
When can we begin enrolling three-year-old children using CSPP Neighborhood School Eligibility based on neighboring school FRPM status?
Contractors can begin enrolling three-year-old children at California State Preschool Program (CSPP) free- or reduced-price meals (FRPM) sites beginning September 27, 2022.
Can we still enroll for full-day under CSPP Neighborhood School Eligibility based on neighboring school FRPM status?
Yes, California State Preschool Program (CSPP) Neighborhood School eligibility is applicable for both part-day and full-day CSPP.
What is the maximum number of hours we can offer per day for families enrolled under CSPP Neighborhood School Eligibility based on neighboring school FRPM status?
Families enrolled under California State Preschool Program (CSPP) Neighborhood School Eligibility are limited to 5 days per week and less than 10 hours per day.
Can all contractors enroll children under CSPP Neighborhood School Eligibility based on neighboring school FRPM status?
The ability to enroll children through California State Preschool Program (CSPP) Neighborhood School Eligibility is site specific, and based on the share of students eligible for free- or reduced-price meals (FRPM) at the elementary school the site operates within the attendance boundaries of. Contractors must obtain written approval from the California Department of Education (CDE) to operate as a FRPM site and enroll children under this provision (5 California Code of Regulations (CCR) 17729) by completing the Site Verification Form for FRPM which can be found at: https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/documents/frpmsiteverificationform.pdf and submitting it to FRPMSiteApproval@cde.ca.gov.
Why has CDE changed the terminology for CSPP Neighborhood School Eligibility based on neighboring school FRPM status from what was previously used?
The CDE received feedback that referencing “free- or reduced-price meals (FRPM) eligibility” with regards to enrollment in the California State Preschool Program (CSPP) was confusing since in some cases it was unclear at the local level if what was being discussed was children’s eligibility for free- or reduced-price meals based on the income requirements of the nutrition programs, or eligibility for CSPP under the provisions of Educations Code (EC) 8217. To provide greater clarity to contractors, the CDE will now be referring to FRPM eligibility as “CSPP Neighborhood School Eligibility” or “CSPP Neighborhood School Eligibility based on neighboring school FRPM status” to describe CSPP contractor’s ability to enroll three- and four-year old children not otherwise eligible for CSPP at CSPP sites within the attendance boundary of a public school, except a charter or magnet school, where at least 80 percent of enrolled pupils are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. When Management Bulletin (MB) 21-04 is revised, it will reflect this new language change.
Can contractors implement the changes listed in the MB that say “beginning January 1, 2023” before January 1, 2023?
No. Contractors must wait until January 1, 2023, to begin enrolling families under the new eligibility criteria and new priorities.
What documentation do families have to bring to enroll under the “receiving governmental programs” eligibility criteria?
The family must provide documentation of current enrollment in the governmental program, unless the contracting agency has, and elects to use, other means of obtaining verification of that enrollment. Further, families will need to provide documentation of the income declared on the application for the means-tested government program as it will be used by the contractor as income documentation for the purposes of prioritizing enrollment and calculating family fees.
If the applications for means-tested government programs are not available to the family, contractors shall have the family self-certify that they do not have access to the application, and to the best of their recollection, the income declared on the application for the means-tested government program.
- Contractor Information
Resources and important information for Early Learning and Care Division contractors, including Desired Results, management bulletins, forms, fiscal services, child development permits, and data reporting.
- Management Bulletins
The Early Education Division (EED) periodically issues Management Bulletins to provide legal and regulatory information to child development contractors and other interested parties. This resource also includes prior child care funding announcements issued since the 2000 calendar year to the present.