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Management Bulletin 17-21

Early Education Division

Subject: Emergency Child Care Bridge Program for Foster Children

Number: 17-21

Date: November 2017

Expires: Until Rescinded

Authority: The Fiscal Year (FY) 2017–18 California Budget Act, Senate Bill (SB) 89, Chapter 24, California Education Code (EC) Section 8212; Welfare and Institutions Code Section 11461.6

Attention: Executive Officers and Program Directors of Resource and Referral Agencies and Alternative Payment Programs


The purpose of this Management Bulletin (MB) is to provide guidance and information to Alternative Payment Programs (APP) and Resource and Referral Contractors (R&R), in those counties that choose to participate, regarding The Emergency Child Care Bridge Program for Foster Children (Bridge Program).


One of the top barriers for potential resource families seeking to take in a foster child is the lack of access to child care following the immediate removal of the child. With the passage of Fiscal Year (FY) 2017–18, California Budget Act, Senate Bill (SB) 89, Chapter 24, Welfare and Institutions Code Section 11461.6 and California Education Code (EC) Section 8212 were amended to provide that relative caregivers, resource families, or parenting youth in foster care are eligible to receive a six-month payment or voucher for child care services as well as help from a child care navigator provided by the R&R if the county chooses to participate in the Bridge Program. Child care programs and providers serving children in the Bridge Program will also receive trauma-informed training from the R&R. Senate Bill 89 allocates $15.5 million in FY 2017–18 to implement the program. The Bridge Program will be administered by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS).


The Bridge Program, funded through the CDSS, consists of three components: (1) emergency child care vouchers, (2) child care navigators, (3) and trauma-informed care training and coaching. The program will be administered by county welfare departments and county welfare agencies in those counties that choose to participate in the program.

Beginning January 1, 2018, for those counties who choose to participate, the R&R agencies in those counties must:

  1. Work with APPs to provide Emergency Child Care Vouchers to relative caregivers, foster families, or parenting youth in foster care. Voucher payments may be paid directly to the family or to the child care provider.

  2. Provide a child care navigator for each relative caregiver, resource family or parenting youth who have a child in foster care. The navigator shall: (1) work with the child’s family, and the child’s social worker and child and family team to assess child care opportunities appropriate to the child’s age and needs; (2) assist the family in identifying potential opportunities for an ongoing child care subsidy, (3) assist the caregiver in completing appropriate child care program applications, and (4) develop an overall, long-term child care plan for the child. Eligibility for navigator services shall not be contingent on a child’s receipt of a child care payment or voucher.

    As a condition of receiving funds, develop and enter into a memorandum of understanding, contract, or other formal agreement with the county child welfare agency in order to facilitate interagency communication and, to the maximum extent possible, to leverage federal funding, including administrative funding, available pursuant to Title IV–E of the federal Social Security Act.

  3. Provide trauma-informed care training and coaching to child care providers working with children, and children of parenting youth, in the foster care system. Training shall include, but not be limited to, infant and toddler development and research-based, trauma-informed best care practices. Child care providers shall be provided with coaching to assist them in applying training techniques and strategies for working with children, and children of parenting youth, in foster care.

    The California Child Care Resource and Referral Network will develop and coordinate the training content to be used by all participating local R&Rs.

Other Relevant Information

The CDSS, as the administrator of the Bridge Program has released the All County Letter (ACL) 17-109 with more detailed information and direction for those R&Rs and APPs in the counties that have opted into the program. The ACL 17-109 is on the CDSS 2017 All County Letters Web page at

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 EC Section 33308.5.

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Last Reviewed: Thursday, July 27, 2023
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