Children Learning,
Parents Earning,
Communities Growing!

Child Care is Expensive

For many California families, paying for child care isn’t easy. The average cost for each child can reach over ten thousand dollars per year. But without access to affordable and reliable child care, you’re constantly depending on family and friends to help out, or missing out on work or school. There has to be a better way.

CDA’s Alternative Payment
Program Is Here to Help!

The Alternative Payment Program is here to help families who can’t afford high-quality child care thrive. If your family currently receives or has received CalWORKS cash aid assistance within the last 24 months, CDA can pay for all or some of your child care costs, because no child deserves to be left behind.

Assistance is available to families who live and/or work in San Diego County, California and have an infant or child who is under 13 years old or a 13-21 year-old child with exceptional needs.

Free or reduced
cost child care

Be able to afford the essential child care your family needs to thrive

You choose the provider right for you

Pick what works best for you and your family—a child care home, licensed center, or a trusted friend or relative

Maintain a
stable schedule

Develop stability while you work or complete your education, so you can create a better life for you and your family

Here's How It Works

Step 1
Check Your Eligibility

Find out if your family is eligible for services

AP Calculator

Step 2
Apply For Child Care Services

One of our friendly team members will help you apply for services

Step 3
Choose a Provider

Select an eligible provider that best suits your family’s needs

Step 4
Your Provider Enrolls

Your provider enrolls into the program

Step 5
Child Care Is Approved

CDA will authorize your child care schedule and how much we will pay your provider

Step 6
Child Care Begins

Your child starts care and continues to receive care for 12 months

Step 7

Attendance records are submitted and CDA pays your provider on your behalf

If you have not received CalWORKs cash aid in the last 24 months, but meet one of the following eligibility criteria, you are eligible to receive services when an opening occurs:

  • Income eligible
  • Homeless
  • Child Protective Services (CPS) or at risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation

If you are eligible for the program, your family must meet one of these need criteria:

  • Working
  • Looking for work
  • In school or job training
  • Medically incapacitated
  • Child Protective Services (CPS) or at risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation
  • Homeless/seeking permanent housing
  • Receiving CalWORKs cash aid and participating in an approved Welfare-to-Work Activity

Parents love CDA’s Alternative Payment Program

“I am very grateful for this program. Honestly don’t know what I would do without it. Being a single mother is not easy and this program not only helps me keep a roof over my son’s head but also helps him receive the education he deserves. Thank you CDA.”

– Alternative Payment Program Parent

Find Out If You Are Eligible

Eligibility for CDA’s Alternative Payment Program is typically based on your family size and monthly gross income, plus meeting one of the needs criteria.