Subsidized Child Care

Subsidized Child CareFor many families, subsidized child care is the lifeline to work, economic security,  and happy, healthy kids. Federal, state, and local authorities allocate some (but not enough) funds each year to help families meet child care expense.

Subsidy programs are governed by specific rules, regulations, and guidelines. The rules are different  depending on the funding source, and can be complicated. Parents often unnecessarily lose their subsidy because they don’t know the rules, or because agencies misinterpret them.

The Child Care Law Center helps interpret subsidy program rules and practices so that working, low-income families can keep the subsidized child care to which they are entitled.

If you are signing up for CalWORKs, you are entitled to get child care

Changes to CalWORKs Stage 1 Child Care Program going into effect on October 1, 2019,  mean that you will get immediate and consistent child care right from the start. Your county social worker must offer and make available child care to you if you want to participate in welfare-to-work, work, or other program activities. Read here to learn about the changes, and contact us at Get Help if you have ANY questions or don’t get the child care you need.

Not on CalWORKS, and wondering what affordable child care you can get?

See our Quick Guide to Affordable Child Care, and contact the child care resource & referral agency near you.

Are you a parent who has received a “Notice of Action” regarding your child care?

Timelines for appeal are short! If you have received a Notice of Action (“NOA”) or have been verbally denied child care you believe you are eligible for, please contact us as soon as possible and submit your issue through our online Information and Referral service.

You can also watch our video, “Three Things Parents Should Know about a Notice of Action” for more information and resources.

Enforcing the Rights of Parents Receiving Subsidized Child Care

We help parents – and advocates representing parents – who are at risk of losing their subsidized child care. We offer information and technical assistance so that low-income and limited English proficiency parents do not unjustly lose child care.

Specifically, we help parents navigate:

  • Application and re-certification requirements
  • Terminations
  • Notices of actions
  • Hearings and appeals policies

We help write new state guidelines and policies so that low-income parents can keep subsidized child care, which is their lifeline to working to support their families.

We conduct “Know Your Rights” workshops for grassroots groups, and direct parents to legal assistance when they need it.

2019 Legal Guide to Child Care Subsidies in California

Our 2019 Legal Guide to Child Care Subsidies in California is a comprehensive explanation of California law about as it relates to:

  • Applying for a subsidy
  • Payments of subsidies
  • Eligibility for a subsidy
  • Administration of subsidy programs by local community based organizations and contractors
  • Hearings and appeals for child care programs administered by the California Department of Education and CalWORKs child care Stages 1, 2, and 3.

Guide to Subsidized Child Care for Children in the Child Welfare System in California

Access to subsidized child care is essential to maintaining safe and stable living arrangements for children in the child welfare system. We can provide an explanation of the primary California child care subsidy programs with special considerations for foster parents, legal guardians, and other caregivers of children in the child welfare system. We work with advocates, social workers, and attorneys to help keep these children healthy, safe, and stable. Contact us here.

Impact Litigation

The Child Care Law Center, in partnership with legal aid attorneys, undertakes impact litigation when necessary to protect the rights of working low-income families to subsidized child care. A case filed in 2010, Parent Voices Oakland v. O’Connell, helped restore child care funding for the families of more than fifty thousand children across California after Governor Schwarzenegger cut it from the budget.