Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

Management Bulletin 17-04

Early Learning and Care Division

Subject: The Use of a Digital Signature for All Child Care Contractors

Number: 17-04

Date: February 2017

Expires: Until Rescinded

Authority: California Education Code (EC) Section 8262.1; Government Code (GC) Section 16.5; and the California Code of Regulations, Title 2 (2 CCR) sections 22000–22005

Attention: Executive Directors and Program Administrators of Child Care and Development Programs: Center-based Child Care (CCTR); California State Preschool (CSPP); Family Child Care Homes Education Networks (CFCC); Programs for Special Needs Children (Handicapped) (CHAN); Migrant (Center-based) (CMIG); CalWORKs Stage 2 (C2AP); CalWORKs Stage 3 (C3AP); California Alternative Payment Program (CAPP); Migrant Alternative Payment Program (CMAP); and Resources and Referral (CRRP)


This Management Bulletin (MB) is to inform all child care contractors who contract with the California Department of Education (CDE) under the Child Care and Development Services Act (the Act) that they are authorized to use digital signatures.


On September 13, 2016, the Governor signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1712. If state and federal standards are met, the bill:

  • Authorizes child care contractors to use digital signatures

  • Provides that the use of a digital signature has the same force and effect as the use of a manual signature

  • Continues to authorize child care contractors and child care providers to maintain records electronically

AB 1712 amends EC Section 8262.1, to permit all contractors under the Act to use digital signatures. Prior to this legislation, only Alternative Payment Programs and alternative payment providers were expressly authorized to use digital signatures. (See EC 8227.5.) 

Note: This bill does not require a contractor or alternative payment provider to create records electronically or to use a digital signature system.


Effective January 1, 2017, child care contractors may use a digital signature; however, contractors must ensure compliance with existing California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR) regulations (e.g., the use of a digital signature does not exclude a contractor from complying with 5 CCR Section 18065). For more information, review Goverment Code (GC) Section 16.5 ( and Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 22000) of Division 7 of 2 CCR. Per GC Section 16.5 and 2 CCR sections 22000–22005, the following requirements must be met if a contractor or alternative payment provider chooses to use a digital signature:

  • Digital signatures must be created by an acceptable technology. (See 2 CCR, sections 22003 and 22004, for information on acceptable technologies.)

  • 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.

    2. It is capable of verification.

    3. It is under the sole control of the person using it.

    4. It is linked to data in such a manner that if the data are changed, the digital signature is invalidated.

    5. It otherwise conforms to 2 CCR sections 22000–22005.

Pursuant to GC 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 State's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Web page at

Note: All agencies must provide access to documentation required pursuant to Title 5 for audit, contract, and fiscal review purposes.

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

Pursuant to California Education Code Section 33308.5, 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.

Questions:   Early Learning and Care Division | 916-322-6233
Last Reviewed: Thursday, January 18, 2024
Recently Posted in Early Education

  • Early Identification Legislative Report (added 24-Apr-2024)
    Report to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, the Legislature, and the Department of Finance on the Proposed Tools and Process for the Early Identification of Developmental Delays and Learning Disabilities