Eligibility for Subsidized Child Care

How do I know if my family is eligible for subsidized child care?

Families may demonstrate eligibility for subsidized child care services in the following ways:

• Through Child Protective Services Program (CPS) referral from a medical, legal, or social service agency.
• Through current or recent (last 24 months) participation in CalWORKs.
• By establishing income eligibility — the gross family income must be within certain income limits set by the Federal and State Government.

Here are the guidelines (dollar amount indicates per-month income):

General Child Care and Development and Alternative Payment Programs

• 1 or 2 family members: $6008
• 3 family members: $6842
• 4 family members: $7941
• 5 family members: $9211
• 6 family members: $10482
• 7 family members: $10720
• 8 family members: $10958

State Preschool

• 1 or 2 family members: $6008
• 3 family members: $6842
• 4 family members: $7941
• 5 family members: $9211
• 6 family members: $10482
• 7 family members: $10720
• 8 family members: $10958

Head Start

• 1 or 2 family members: $1072-$1451
• 3 family members: $1830
• 4 family members: $2208
• 5 family members: $2586
• 6 family members: $2965
• 7 family members: $3343
• 8 family members: $3721

These dollar amounts are current as of July 2022

For most programs, families must also demonstrate a child care need. Need is defined as child care services needed for any of the following reasons (not all apply to every family):

• The parent or caretaker is employed
• The parent or caretaker is seeking employment
• The parent or caretaker is in vocational training leading directly to a trade, profession, or para-profession
• The parent or caretaker is homeless and seeking permanent housing
• The parent or caretaker is receiving public assistance
• The parent or caretaker is medically or psychiatrically incapacitated
• The child is abused or neglected or at risk of abuse of neglect (requires a referral)

For further information on subsidized child care, you download this tip sheet:

Can I Get Help Paying for Child Care?