Creating Opportunities For
Families To Succeed

Child Development Associates

Child Development Associates, Inc. (CDA) is a community based, non-profit agency with over 240 employees dedicated to creating positive change in our local community. We believe that all families deserve an equal start to high-quality education and supportive services that will promote children’s healthy development and future success.

To encourage and support the success and well-being of children, families, and the child care community.

CDA Preschools

Three high quality preschool centers serving low-income families in South San Diego County. We promote children’s healthy development and school readiness.

Alternative Payment Program

Child care reimbursement for parents who can’t afford child care on their own. We help children learn while parents earn.

Nutrition Program

Nutrition education and reimbursements to ensure family child care providers serve nutritious meals to the children in their care.

Our Aim is to Create
Positive Change

Raising a family in the state of California is expensive. Low income families struggle to make ends meet and are unable to afford the necessary child care services. CDA has made it its mission to provide families with the resources necessary to reach self-sufficiency and succeed in life.

“I want to help make the world a better place.”

Charlene Tressler, CDA Founder

Founded By a Single Mom, Who Wanted to Make a Difference

CDA was founded by Charlene Tressler in 1974, who through her personal struggles as a single parent, became committed to helping families. Charlene opened a small child development center at a local church in Otay Mesa, consisting of 24 children aged two to five huddled together in one classroom. Her vision of a small community preschool has evolved into what is now a multiservice nonprofit agency with over 200 employees serving more than 3,300 families & 7,000 children across its programs. CDA is now the fourth largest Alternative Payment Program in the State of California, and is the largest sponsor of the Federal USDA Child Care Food Program in California.

Our Current Impact


Child care providers

Nutritious meals

Our Journey


Charlene opens CDA’s
first preschool


CDA receives its first California
Department of Education grant


CDA Family Daycare
Program begins


CDA expands
Preschool Program


CDA incorporates as a 501(c) (3)


CDA Nutrition Program begins


CDA Before and After School
Care Program begins


CDA Alternative Payment
Program begins


CDA Alternative Payment
Program expands to
CalWORKs Stages 2 and 3


CDA becomes the reimbursement
agency for Preschool for All
(now known as Quality Preschool Initiative)


CDA Hilltop Child Development
Center (CDC) opens


CDA Hilltop CDC opens
their “Habitat gARTen”


CDA Hilltop CDC Habitat gARTen receives
“Healthy Places Award” and “American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)
San Diego Award”


CDA Finney CDC opens
“The Children’s Garden”


CDA receives the “2017
California Nonprofit of
the Year Award” at the State Capital


CDA Parks CDC opens
“Outdoor Learning Environment”

Our Leaders

Norma Hernandez

Director of Operations and Organizational Development

Jorge Hernandez

Director of Finance

Jolie Buberl

Director of Child Development Programs

Join Our Team!

The people here at CDA create a career of creating positive change. We’re proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer that values our diverse workforce. Join CDA, and help us leave the world better than we found it. Learn more about CDA life here:


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