Improving the Lives of Families
through Child Care Services,
Research and Advocacy

For Families

CalWORKs Child Care


CalWORKs (California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids) program is the state's implementation of the federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program and it provides cash grants and welfare-to-work services for families to meet basic needs and assist the family's move towards self-sufficiency.


CalWORKs Child Care Program was established in 1997 to provide subsidized services for welfare program participants and low-income families.

1. Enable low-income families to become self-sufficient
2. Improve low-income children's cognitive and educational development


The CalWORKs program is supported by a combination of federal, state, and local funds—in that order of magnitude. Every year, California receives a federal
TANF block grant of $3.7 billion and in order to receive the TANF grant, the state has to provide a matching fund of $2.9 billion, which is known as the Maintenance of Effort (MOE). Combining both, California has $5.2 billion available to fund the CalWORKs program.


Subsidized child care is available for eligible CalWORKs families who:

1. Work or participate in an education or training program (Welfare-To-Work activity), therefore demonstrating a "need" for care.

2. Have a family income below 70% of the State Median Income (SMI). The state currently uses a SMI cap of $42, 216 for a family of three.

3. Subsidized child care is available for CalWORKs children through age 12, and exceptional needs and severely disabled children up to age 21.

Find Out if You Qualify

If you are on cash aid (welfare) at the present time, or have been in the last 24 months, you may be eligible for child care if you are also:

  • working, or
  • attending school or vocational training,or
  • seeking employment

Please call 323-421-1028 for more information.

Based upon CalWORKs, eligible parents can obtain subsidized child care from the provider of their choice.

The CalWORKs Child Care Program is administered in three stages. Stage One is administered by the county welfare departments. Stages Two and Three are administered by Alternative Payment Program (APP) agencies under contract with the California Department of Education (CDE). The stages are intended to provide a smooth transition for families from short-term child care to stable long-term care needed for families to become self-sufficient.

 Stage 1
 Stage 2
 Stage 3



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