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Centralized Eligibility List


In 1997, California Education Code (EC), added section 8499.5(b)(8) requiring Local Planning Councils (LPCs) to design a system to consolidate child care waiting lists previously maintained by individual agencies. Nine LPCs participated in the pilot and evaluation, which was conducted with funding from the Budget Act of 2000 (Provision 7(d) of Schedule (b)(11) of Item 6110-196-0001) to explore the challenges and benefits of centralized waiting lists. 

In July of 2005, Senate Bill (SB) 68 (Chapter 78) added Section 8227 to the EC establishing the requirement for:

  • Each county to develop and administer a Centralized Eligibility List (CEL) for families waiting to obtain California Department of Education (CDE)-administered subsidized child care and development services.
  • CDE-funded contractors providing services to participate in/use the CEL for enrollment purposes.
  • CEL administrators to report data to the CDE on a regular basis.

The Budget Act of each year, beginning in 2005 and ending in 2010, appropriated $7.9 million for administration of CELs in all 58 counties. CELs were administered until June 30, 2011.

Elimination of Funding

Funding for CEL was eliminated in the Budget Act of 2011 (Senate Bill 87, Chapter 33).

Following the elimination of funding, several counties opted to administer a locally funded CEL (Local Child Care Waiting List) on a voluntary basis.

What does this mean for families?

Commencing July 1, 2011, families seeking subsidized child care and development services need to contact agencies of their choice directly to request information about the agency's individual program and to be placed on their waiting list. Families may contact a Resource and Referral Agency for assistance finding child care.

What does this mean for contractors?

Commencing July 1, 2011, contractors previously required to use the CEL for enrollment purposes by EC, Section 8227(e) are required to adhere to California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR), Section 18106(e):

“Contractors shall maintain a current waiting list in accordance with admission priorities. Contractors may satisfy the requirement for maintaining a waiting list by participating in a county child care centralized eligibility list. Contractors shall contact applicants in order of priority from the waiting list as vacancies occur.”

Questions:   Early Education Division | 916-322-6233
Last Reviewed: Friday, February 10, 2023
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