Help paying for care
Steps to qualify for FREE or reduced-cost child care
Step 1 - Call Options for Learning Child Care Services at 626-856-5900.
Step 2 – Your basic eligibility will be assessed and you will either be assisted immediately if funding is available OR you will be sent an eligibility questionnaire to complete and return.
Step 3 - If there is no available funding, your child’s name will be placed on a waiting list once the eligibility questionnaire is returned to our office.
Step 4 – Once you receive notification that funding is available, you must contact us immediately. Your eligibility will be assessed.
Step 5 - If you are eligible and approved for child care payment assistance, you must select a legally operating child care program (center, family child care, etc.) and the provider must meet funding requirements.
Choosing an early care and education program is one of the most important decisions a parent can make. We encourage families to contact our Resource and Referral Department for information on choosing quality child care.
Types of subsidized child care available
Options for Learning contracts with the California Department of Education — Early Education and Support Division (EESD) to distribute federal and state child care and development subsidies/certificates for CalWORKs and eligible working low-income families. Alternative Payment Programs (APPs) support working families and children by ensuring parental choice and accommodating the individual needs of each family. For more information, call 626-856-5900.
CalWORKs Child Care – Stages 1, 2 and 3
CalWORKs child care is meant to help families transition smoothly from welfare to work by offering short-term child care as parents start work or training, then offering stable, long-term child care to enable families to transition off cash aid. Stages of CalWORKs Child Care:
- Stage 1: Family is receiving cash aid and in an approved welfare-to-work activity.
- Stage 2: May begin after six months in Stage 1 when activity has stabilized or when the family is transitioning off of cash aid.
- Stage 3: May begin when a funded space is available or when the family has received 24 months of child care, after transitioning off of cash aid.
Alternative Payment Program
The Alternative Payment Program (APP) offers an array of child care arrangements, such as family child care and center-based care, for families who meet income and eligibility guidelines. When funds are available, families select a child care provider with informational resource support from our agency. Once the parent and provider agree to the child care arrangement, we reimburse the provider for approved services.
Family Child Care Home Education Network (FCCHEN)
The Family Care Home Education Network (FCCHEN) is similar to the Alternative Payment Program but is focused on promoting high-quality early learning environments in licensed family child care homes. If a qualified subsidized family chooses a licensed home in this contract, the FCCHEN provider must first meet standards set forth by EESD.
Emergency Child Care Bridge Program for foster children (Bridge Program)
Eligible families may receive a time-limited child care voucher to help pay for child care costs for foster children birth through age 5 and their siblings. This also includes foster children with exceptional needs and severely disabled children up to age 21. Referrals to the Child Care Bridge Program must be made through the resource family’s children’s social worker (CSW) at DCFS. Learn more by calling our Resource and Referral Department at 626-856-5900, ext. 3.