Child Care and Development Programs
While the California Department of Education continues to operate the California State Preschool Program, the Early Childhood Development Act of 2020 (Senate Bill (SV) 98, Chapter 24, Statutes of 2020) authorized the transfer of many childcare programs from the California Department of Education to the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) effective July 1, 2021. The content on this page may include programs that have moved to CDSS. For additional assistance you can either visit the CDSS Child Care Transition web page or call 1-833-559-2420 for more information.
The Budget Act of 2015 appropriated $2.4 billion for the California Department of Education’s (CDE) Child Development Programs in a mix of 76 percent state funds and 24 percent federal funds. Approximately 1,300 contracts are dispersed through approximately 713 public and private agencies statewide to support and provide services to almost 400,000 children.
General Child Care and Development
General child care and development programs are state and federally funded programs that use centers and family child care home networks operated or administered by either public or private agencies and local educational agencies. These agencies provide child development services for children from birth through 12 years of age and older children with exceptional needs. These programs provide an educational component that is developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate for the children served. The programs also provide meals and snacks to children, parent education, referrals to health and social services for families, and staff development opportunities to employees.
Migrant Child Care and Development
Migrant child care and development programs provide services to families who earn at least 50 percent of their total gross income from employment in fishing, agriculture or agriculturally related work during the twelve month period immediately preceding the date of application.
Migrant Program (CMIG)
Migrant child care and development programs use centers and family child care home networks operated or administered by either public or private agencies and local educational agencies. These programs provide child development services for children from birth through 12 years of age and older children with exceptional needs. These programs provide an educational component that is culturally, linguistically, and developmentally appropriate for the children served. The programs also provide meals and snacks to children, parent education, referrals to health and social services for agricultural families, and staff development opportunities to employees.
Migrant Alternative Payment Program (CMAP)
Migrant Alternative Payment programs issue vouchers to eligible, migrant families that can be used to purchase child care and development services at legally operating child care providers throughout California's central valley. This program provides services for children birth through 12 years of age, and for older children with exceptional needs. Funding for services follows families as they move from place to place for agricultural work.
California State Preschool Program (CSPP)
Assembly Bill 2759 (Chapter 308, Statutes of 2008) created the California State Preschool Program. This program consolidated the funding for State Preschool, Prekindergarten and Family Literacy, and General Child Care center-based programs serving eligible three- and four-year-old children to create the California State Preschool Program, the largest state-funded preschool program in the nation. The program provides both part-day and full-day services that provides a core class curriculum that is developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate for the children served. The program also provides meals and snacks to children, parent education, referrals to health and social services for families, and staff development opportunities to employees. The program is administered through local educational agencies, colleges, community-action agencies, and private nonprofit agencies.
California State Preschool Program Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Block Grant
Senate Bill 858 (Chapter 32, Statutes of 2014) authorizes $50 million of Proposition 98 funds for Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Block Grant for the support of local early learning QRIS that increase the number of low-income children in high quality state preschool programs that prepare those children for success in school and life.
California Education Code Section 8203.1 (b)(1) states:
For purposes of this section, “early learning quality rating and improvement system” or “QRIS” is defined as a locally determined system for continuous quality improvement based on a tiered rating structure with progressively higher quality standards for each tier that provides supports and incentives for programs, teachers, and administrators to reach higher levels of quality, monitors and evaluates the impacts on child outcomes, and disseminates information to parents and the public about program quality.
Severely Handicapped Program
The severely handicapped programs located in the San Francisco Bay Area provide care and supervision, age and developmentally appropriate activities, therapy, youth guidance, and parental counseling to eligible children and young adults from birth to 21 years of age. Recipients of these services must have an individualized education plan (IEP) or an individualized family service plan (IFSP) issued through special education programs.
Alternative Payment Program
Alternative payment programs (APPs), funded with state and federal funds, offer an array of child care arrangements for parents, such as in-home care, family child care, and center-based care. The APP helps families arrange child care services and makes payment for those services directly to the child care provider selected by the family. The APP is intended to increase parental choice and accommodate the individual needs of the family.
CalWORKs Child Care
Recipients of the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility
to Kids (CalWORKs) grant program are required to engage in work
or work preparation activities. CalWORKs programs provide an array
of welfare-to-work services. Child care is provided with state
and federal funds in three stages.
Stage 1 is administered by the California Department of Social Services through county welfare departments (CWDs). Stage 1 begins when a participant enters the CalWORKs grant program and engages in activities pursuant to a welfare-to-work plan developed by the CWD for each family. The CWDs refer families to resource and referral agencies to assist them in finding child care providers. Some CWDs pay those providers directly for the services performed. Many CWDs have a sub-contract with APPs to pay for the child development services.
Stage 2 is administered by CDE through its APPs. CalWORKs families are transferred into Stage 2 when the CWD deems the family to be stable. Participation in Stage 1 and/or Stage 2 is limited to two years after the family stops receiving a CalWORKs grant. In addition to the services that CDE provides, small portions of the services in Stage 2 are administered by the California community colleges through its centers or an AP delivery system for the benefit of students.
Stage 3 is also administered by CDE through its APPs. A family can move to this stage when it has exhausted its two-year limit in Stage 1 and/or Stage 2 (referred to as timing out), and for as long as the family remains otherwise eligible for child care programs.
Resource and Referral
Resource and referral programs provide information to all parents and the community about the availability of child care in their area. The programs assist potential providers in the licensing process; provide direct services, including training; and they coordinate community resources for the benefit of parents and local child care providers. These services are available in all 58 California counties.
Quality Improvement Plan Activities
California's commitment to early childhood education and child development spans five decades and continues to promote a positive child- and family-focused philosophy. Service to low-income families remains a priority, and state program goals demand that high-quality child development programs and services be made available. The quality improvement plan includes the federal mandates for infant/toddler capacity building, resource and referral programs, and school-age capacity building. Quality improvement plan projects are described in detail on the Quality Improvement Activities webpage. The Final CCDF State Plans are also accessible through the Child Care and Development Fund State Plan webpage.
Local Child Care and Development Planning Councils
Local child care and development planning councils (LPCs) support the overall coordination of child care services in each of the 58 counties. The LPCs are mandated to conduct assessments of county child care needs and to prepare plans to address identified needs. These assessments must contain information on the supply and demand for child care, including the need for both subsidized and nonsubsidized care. For further information on LPCs, please visit the Early Learning and Care Division's LPC webpage.