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Management Bulletin 16-01

Early Learning and Care Division

Subject: Digital Signatures

Number: 16-01

Date: January 2016

Expires: Until Rescinded

Authority: California Education Code (EC), Section 8227.5; California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR), Section 18065; Government Code Section 16.5; and Title 2 (2 CCR) Sections 22000-22005.  

Attention: Alternative Payment Program Contractors (C2AP, C3AP, CAPP, and CMAP) and Child Care Providers


This Management Bulletin (MB) is to inform alternative payment programs and child care providers that they are authorized to use digital signatures.


On October 4, 2015, the Governor signed Assembly Bill (AB) 271.  If specified state and federal standards are met, the bill:

  • Authorizes alternative payment program contractors and child care providers who contract with alternative payment program contractors to use digital signatures; and
  • Provides that the use of a digital signature has the same force and effect as the use of a manual signature.

Note:  This bill does not authorize center-based child care and development contractors, such as CCTR, CSPP, CMIG, CHAN, and CFCC contractors, to use digital signatures.


Effective January 1, 2016, Alternative Payment Program contractors (C2AP, C3AP, CAPP, and CMAP), and child care providers may use a digital signature that complies with state and federal standards. Per Government Code Section 16.5 External link opens in new window or tab. and Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 22000) of Division 7 of 2 CCR External link opens in new window or tab., the following requirements must be met if a contractor or provider chooses to use a digital signature:

The use of a digital signature will have the same force and effect as the use of a manual signature if and only if it embodies all of the following attributes:

  1. It is unique to the person using it and is known only to the signer and to the Alternative Payment agency staff who are involved in the verification as stated in 2 below.
  2. It is capable of verification and the acceptor of the digitally signed document can verify who digitally signed the document.
  3. It is under the sole control of the person using it.
  4. The digital signature is invalidated if the data is altered/modified.
  5. It otherwise conforms to 2 CCR Sections 22000-22005.
Pursuant to Government Code Section 16.5(b), the use or acceptance of a digital signature shall be at the option of the parties to the transaction.

More information on digital signatures is available at the California Secretary of States’ FAQ Web page External link opens in new window or tab..

If you have questions regarding the information in this management bulletin, please send an e-mail to

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This Management Bulletin is mandatory only to the extent that it cites a specific statutory and/or regulatory requirement. Any portion of this Management Bulletin that is not supported by a specific statutory and/or regulatory requirement is not prescriptive pursuant to California Education Code Section 33308.5.

Questions:   Early Learning and Care Division | 916-322-6233
Last Reviewed: Thursday, May 19, 2022
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