CalWORKs child care is a 3-stage program designed to assist participants in becoming employed and fully self-sufficient.
The availability of quality child care is essential to the success of CalWORKs. In order to ensure an adequate supply of child care resources to recipients and those transitioning off Welfare-to-Work, previous welfare-related child care programs were consolidated into a single program.
- The purpose of the child care system is to help a family transition smoothly from the immediate, short-term child care needed as the parent starts work or work activities to the stable, long-term child care necessary for the family to leave and remain off cash aid.
- The CalWORKs Child Care Program is administered in three stages. Stage One is administered by the Department of Employment and Social Services. Stages Two and Three are administered by Alternative Payment Program (APP) agencies under contract with the California Department of Education (CDE.)
The three stages of CalWORKs child care are defined as follows:
- Stage One begins with a family's entry into the CalWORKs program.
- Stage Two begins after six months of receiving child care in Stage One or after a recipient's work or work activity has stabilized, or when the family is transitioning off of aid. Clients may continue to receive Stage Two child care up to two years after they are no longer eligible for cash aid. Counties may contract with CDE to provide APP child care services in Stage Two.
- Stage Three begins when a funded space is available for current and former CalWORKs recipients and for families who have received diversion services.
Those who are receiving CalWORKs cash aid and are in one of the following situations, may be eligible for child care benefits:
- They are attending a county Welfare-to-Work approved education or training program
- They are working and need child care
- They are teens participating in Cal-Learn
- They choose to refuse a cash aid payment and need child care
- They have been receiving cash assistance and have transitioned off, but need child care to retain employment
There are other requirements that must be met. Child care providers must meet certain conditions or requirements in order to receive payment for their services. Participants will be asked to verify employment, child care costs, and hours and dates of employment or education/training activity. There are age limits for children to receive child care.
If those needing child care have already applied for and are receiving CalWORKs case assistance, they should discuss this with their Case Manager.
Anyone not receiving assistance may obtain child care information by contacting the local resource and referral agency, Valley Oak Children's Services, at (530) 895-3572 or (800) 345-8627.
California Child Care Resource & Referral Network
Commonly Asked Questions About Child Care and the ADA