Child Care Program

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Child Care - ePolicy

The CalWORKs Child Care Program helps families access immediate, quality and affordable child care as they move through their Welfare-to-Work (WtW) activities towards employment and self-sufficiency.  It promotes parental choice and ensures that families have child care that is stable enough to move off cash assistance.  The program is administered by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and California Department of Education (CDE).  There are three different “Stages” of CalWORKs Child Care (see below for descriptions).


In Los Angeles County, subsidized child care is available for CalWORKs children through age 12, and exceptional needs and severely disabled children up to age 18. For children ages 11 and 12, placement in a before or after school program for child care is preferred.  Families are eligible to subsidized child care until their income exceeds 70% of the State Median Income for their family size or their children exceed the age limits of the program.

CalWORKs Child Care Stages

Stage 1: Locally administered by DPSS through contracts with 10 Resource & Referral/Alternative Payment Program (R&R/APP) agencies, CalWORKS Stage 1 Child Care begins with a parent’s entry into a County-approved WtW activity or employment. Each family may be served in Stage 1 for up to six months or until the family’s work activity and child care become stable. Families can also remain in Stage 1 if there is not sufficient funding in Stages 2 and 3.

Stage 2: Locally administered by the APP agencies, Stage 2 begins when the parent’s employment and child care arrangements are stable. Families may remain in this Stage for up to 24 months after they stop receiving CalWORKs cash assistance.

Stage 3: Locally administered by the APP agencies, Stage 3 provides child care benefits for:

  • former CalWORKs participants who are working, have left cash aid and exhausted their 24-month eligibility for Stage 1 and/or Stage 2 Child Care
  • families who receive a CalWORKs diversion payment

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CalWORKs Youth@Work Program Questions & Answers