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Management Bulletin 21-01

Early Learning and Care Division

Subject: Updated Guidance Regarding Coordination of California Resource and Referral Programs and Local Planning Councils in Support of Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Number: 21-01

Date: January 2021

Expires: June 30, 2021, or until rescinded

Authority: California Education Code, Sections 8210 through 8216 and Sections 8499 through 8499.7; California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR) Sections 18240 through 18249; Assembly Bill (AB) 89 (Chapter 7, Statutes of 2020); and Senate Bill (SB) 820 (Chapter 24, Statutes of 2020)

Attention: All Executive and Program Directors of California Resource and Referral and Local Planning Councils


The purpose of this Management Bulletin (MB) is to provide updated guidance to California Resource & Referral (R&R) Programs and Local Planning Councils (LPCs) on transitioning families from emergency childcare services into ongoing childcare services. This MB also elevates current requirements for R&R programs and LPCs per the California Code of Regulations (5 CCR) and/or California Education Code (EC) in light of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and provides suggestions for meeting requirements and beyond during the evolving COVID-19 State of Emergency in California.


The California Education Code (EC) Sections 8210–8216 require R&R programs to identify the full range of existing child care services provided by public and private agencies, update and maintain a database of child care providers, and provide resources and information to parents looking for child care. Included among the statutory duties required of R&Rs is the duty to disseminate information on current public issues affecting the local and state delivery of child care services and to facilitate communication between child care providers and child-related service providers in the community being served.

The EC Sections 8499–8499.7 require LPCs to serve as a forum to assess, identify, and direct resources to address the child care needs of all families in the community for all types of child care, both subsidized and non-subsidized, through local partnerships, including with Head Start and Early Head Start grantees and all local education agencies.

On March 4, 2020, Governor Newsome proclaimed a State of Emergency in California as a result of the threat of global pandemic disease COVID-19. On March 17, 2020, the Governor signed SB 89 (Chapter 2, Statutes of 2020), which appropriated funds for COVID-19 response. The Governor and the Legislature identified $50 million of these funds for California Alternative Payment Program (CAPP) contractors for new Emergency Childcare enrollments during Fiscal Year (FY) 2019–20.

On March 19, 2020, April 4, 2020, and April 7, 2020, respectively, the Governor issued Executive Orders (EO) N-33-20, EO N-45-20, and EO N-47-20, that classified which essential worker families would be receiving new Emergency Childcare enrollments within CAPPs.

On April 15, 2020, the California Department of Education (CDE) issued MB 20-07 to provide guidance to R&Rs and LPCs on how to prioritize their work to assist California’s essential worker families needing childcare services, and to support childcare providers that remained open during the pandemic. The MB 20-07 expired on June 30, 2020.

On June 29, 2020, the Governor signed Assembly Bill (AB) 89 (Chapter 7, Statutes of 2020), which appropriated $47,236,000 available, beginning July 1, 2020, for 5,600 CAPP slots to provide continuity of care for families who were previously enrolled in Emergency Childcare. The AB 89 requires that families previously enrolled in Emergency Childcare through CAPP and the California Migrant Alternative Payment Program (CMAP) be given first priority for enrollment into ongoing subsidized childcare through CAPP.

On September 18, 2020, the Governor signed SB 820 (Chapter 110, Statutes of 2020) which includes additional directives to alternative payment programs that they, to the extent possible, work directly with families that received Emergency Childcare services and the local R&R agency, to assist families in accessing ongoing subsidized or nonsubsidized childcare services that meet their need.

During the continued COVID-19 State of Emergency in California, there remains a critical need for R&Rs and LPCs to play a pivotal role, which includes assisting families (who had been enrolled in Emergency Childcare) to find ongoing subsidized or nonsubsidized childcare. Pursuant to SB 820, there are no new enrollments in Emergency Childcare after June 30, 2020. Due to the ongoing pandemic, there is a continued need to: (1) use new tools and flexibility to perform their responsibilities of serving local childcare needs and (2) ensure that critical functions in their communities are maintained based on evolving local and state guidance.

To the extent possible, the CAPP or CMAP contractor that enrolled a child in Emergency Childcare must work directly with families with children enrolled in Emergency Childcare and their local R&R agency to secure ongoing childcare services for those families. The CDE has issued guidance on enrollment and prioritization of services within MB 20-14.


Requirements for R&Rs

To the extent possible, R&Rs must work directly with families, whose children are enrolled in Emergency Childcare, to assist families in accessing and navigating ongoing subsidized or nonsubsidized childcare services that meet the family’s need. This includes efforts to help new families not enrolled in Emergency Childcare to find childcare during the ongoing pandemic.

Considering the current evolving public health emergency, the CDE encourages R&Rs to continue:

  1. Expand Data Collection Efforts by:
    1. Collecting data on childcare supply from their licensed providers no less than once monthly to maintain the availability of childcare supply information on capacity and vacancy status in real time.
    2. Providing guidance to childcare providers so that they self-report to the local regional Child Care Licensing office any closure, including temporary or ongoing closures.
    3. Updating the state as often as possible or as provider data becomes available.
    4. Updating the My Child Care Plan (MCCP) database (or an application programming interface linkage to the MCCP database) as often as possible or as provider data becomes available. Any questions related to how to upload data into MCCP should be directed to the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network.
      1. Licensees whose status does not change between reporting periods would not need to provide updates (although those that close should contact their local regional Child Care Licensing and the local R&R to provide an update). Status shall mean whether the provider is: (1) active and booked to capacity; (2) Active with vacancy, (3) inactive, but willing to open with technical assistance; or (4) inactive (closed).
      2. Capacity shall mean: total number of children the site is willing/able to serve by age category (i.e., 0–23 months; 2–5 years; and 6 years and up).
      3. Vacancy shall mean: one (1) or more available spots to provide a family with childcare. As applicable, vacancies reported by childcare centers should be listed by age category, keeping collected data secure and confidential.
  2. Providing childcare referrals to meet needs of families, ideally within 24 hours of the request.
  3. Remaining operational and making services as accessible as possible to best meet the needs of the local community by having phone lines, email accounts, and/or remote access to the referral database by employees.
  4. Providing resources and childcare referrals to essential workers, Tribal communities, at-risk populations, and providers during the declared State of Emergency related to COVID-19.
  5. Updating local R&R websites to include easy access to resources for families, including [link no longer available] and other online resources. The local R&R website must include other relevant local, state, and national resources for families related to this evolving public health emergency and finding childcare in their community.
  6. Conducting community outreach efforts to inform essential workers, Tribal communities, and at-risk populations of available childcare in the local community to assist families with accessing both ongoing subsidized and nonsubsidized childcare services that meet family need (Any new subsidized childcare enrollments after June 30, 2020, must meet eligibility criteria for care set forth in relevant sections of the 5 CCR and EC).
  7. Working above and beyond to collaborate with LPC partners and other community stakeholders as described in program requirements.
  8. Expanding capacity to provide resources as described in the California Resource & Referral (CRRP) Program Funding Terms and Conditions (FT&Cs), in addition to connecting providers with the local Quality Counts California (QCC) consortium resources, as available.
  9. Utilizing California Preventive Health and Safety Practices training hub expertise, and other training resources, posted on the California Early Childhood Online (CECO) to support appropriate preventive health and safety practices during the COVID-19 State of Emergency.
  10. Providing support to Family Friend and Neighbor and cleared TrustLine providers including, safe sleep training, and related technical assistance to provide safe and quality childcare.
  11. Providing prompt TrustLine application assistance and coordinating available local LiveScan vendors and California Department of Social Services (CDSS), Community Care Licensing Division (CCLD) Local Regional offices to support accessibility of LiveScan services. R&Rs should be prepared to utilize CDSS’ new online registration system Guardian once it is available for licensees and TrustLine applicants. Any questions about utilizing the Guardian system should be directed to TrustLine at 1-800-822-8490.
  12. Coordinating emergency supply and referral response for each county unless the county appoints another lead coordination body. The R&Rs and LPCs must inform CDE if any changes are made to key local personnel identified as county contacts, including R&R and LPC coordinators. The lead in each county must be available to: (1) document key data as needed; (2) answer immediate requests for information regarding need; and (3) coordinate with local partners including direct outreach to tribal partners, for effective distribution of supplies and provision of information.
  13. Using funding from existing CDE contracts and quality grants with R&Rs to support childcare providers, including tribal childcare partners. During this evolving public health emergency, R&Rs may need to purchase and distribute supplies. Requests for COVID-19 related purchases from CDE contracts and quality grants in FY 2020–21 must be directed to the assigned Regional Early Learning and Care (ELCD) Program Quality Implementation (PQI) Office Consultant.
Requirements for LPCs

Considering the current evolving public health emergency and EC Sections 8499–8499.5, LPCs must continue:

  1. Collaborating with other childcare related entities in the community–including subsidized and non-subsidized childcare providers and local R&R programs–to foster partnerships, which can be used to meet local childcare needs.
  2. Assessing and identifying local childcare needs in partnership with the local R&Rs, the QCC Consortium, Tribal childcare and other community stakeholders as described in the California Local Planning Council Program Requirements.
  3. Serving as a resource and support for the planning of local countywide childcare services.
  4. Remaining operational and as accessible as possible by having phone lines, and email accounts that can be accessed remotely by LPC staff to conduct LPC work.
  5. Intensify efforts to Direct the community to available resources that encourage best practices and strategies to support children and families in the community.
  6. Working collaboratively with the local R&Rs on maintaining a communication and outreach plan in coordination with the CDE contractors, Tribal childcare and other community stakeholders as described in the program requirements.
  7. Planning for early learning and care services that meet the needs of the families in the local community during the COVID-19 State of Emergency.
  8. Adhering to the CEC, Chapter 2.3, Articles 1 and 2 (Sections 8499 through 8499.7) as they pertain to the requirements of the LPC’s role, which would include reporting newly-emerging data about the childcare needs of all families in the community to CDE and CDSS.


The CDE, ELCD has developed a COVID-19 State of Emergency guidance and resource web page that includes answers to frequently asked questions, all MBs issued to implement pertinent legislation, webinars, and other relevant resources at

To be informed of updated information, please sign up for ELCD’s email distribution list at

For more information about CDSS Community Care Licensing Division Provider Information Notices which provides guidance on social and physical distance, ratio and group sizes, and healthy practices during the COVID-19 State of Emergency, please visit their website at

For essential factual information and resources about the extent of early childhood homelessness, in addition to concrete research-based strategies teachers can implement that benefit all of the children in their care, and are essential for young children and their families impacted by homelessness, visit the ELCD Resources webpage for a copy of the Responsive Early Education for Young Children and Families Experiencing Homelessness at

For more information about federal and state guidance and response to COVID-19 State of Emergency, please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at, the California Department of Public Health’s website at and the California COVID-19 Response website at

For more information about COVID-19 State of Emergency guidance from the Office of Head Start, including the Collaborating Actively in Meaningful Planning (CAMP) series, please visit their website at [Link no longer available].

For more information about COVID-19 and the Indian Health Services, who are working closely with tribal partners, state, local and public health partners to provide resources and supports during this public health threat, please visit their web page at

If you have questions regarding the information in this MB, please contact your assigned ELCD Program Quality Implementation Office Regional Consultant. A list of consultants can be found on the ELCD Regional Consultants Assignments web page at by phone at 916-322-6233.

This MB 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 EC 33308.5.

Stephen Propheter, Director
Early Learning and Care Division
Questions: Early Learning and Care Division | 916-322-6223

Questions:   Early Learning and Care Division | 916-322-6223
Last Reviewed: Thursday, July 27, 2023
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