Common Questions

CDA is on a mission to positively impact the community and give families an equal chance at success. If you need to make a change or want more information, please call us: (619) 427-4411

How to Qualify

To be enrolled in CDA’s Alternative Payment Program, your family must meet one of these eligibility criteria:

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

To be eligible based on income, your family’s gross monthly income must be equal to or less than the amount shown in the table below. Gross monthly income is all income you and your family receive before taxes are taken out. If you are self-employed it is your income after deducting business expenses. Income eligibility is based on the State Median Income. Refer to the table below.


Family Size 1-2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Gross Monthly Income $5,889 $6,511

$7,441 $8,632 $9,823 $10,046 $10,269 $10,492 $10,716 $10,939 $11,162

Maybe. Families who are currently receiving or have received CalWORKs cash aid within the last 24 months can be eligible for free or reduced cost child care services. Speak to one of our friendly team members for more information.

Maybe. Food stamps in California, which are part of the CalFresh program, are different than CalWORKs cash aid. If food stamps are the only income assistance you’ve had then, no, you would not qualify under the “CalWORKs” eligibility type.

Yes. To be enrolled in CDA’s Alternative Payment 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

Families must complete an annual recertification at the end of each 12-month eligibility period. The recertification is a formal process to collect information and updated documentation to determine if a family meets the program requirements to continue receiving child care services. Eligible families may complete their annual recertification electronically. For a video walkthrough, click here.

My Child Care Provider

In the Alternative Payment Program, you can choose the type of care and specific child care provider that you feel best meets your family’s needs. You can pick a licensed child care center, a licensed family child care home, a before/after school program, a legally license-exempt provider such as a relative (a grandparent, aunt or uncle) or a friend or neighbor.

CDA can’t recommend or give out a list of providers but we encourage you to use the following resources:

YMCA Child Care Resource Service

  • Complete a referral request online or do an online search of providers: Search Providers
  • Call the YMCA at 1-800-481-2151.

    • You can get child care referrals in person at three YMCA locations in San Diego, National City, and Vista.
    • You can also get referrals for licensed care providers over the phone.

Community Care Licensing

  • Community Care Licensing (CCL) licenses and monitors Family Child Care Homes and Child Care Centers to make sure they provide safe and healthy environments for children in their care. Under Oliver’s Law, parents have a right to review a provider’s facility file on record with CCL. The child care provider must show you the file information if you ask for it.
  • You can also find an overview of a provider’s licensing history, complaints or violations online here.:
  • For file details, call 619-767-2200.

Yes, you can change providers at any time while in CDA’s Alternative Payment Program. Contact your Child Care Eligibility Specialist to request the change. TIP: Be sure to check if you are required to give an advanced notice to your current provider.

RMRC and Co-Payments

The Regional Market Rate Ceilings (RMRC) are the highest amounts that CDA can reimburse child care providers. The specific ceiling to use for each child is based on the child’s age, provider type and the amount of certified child care. The State of California comes up with the RMRC by surveying providers within the state and finding an average rate by county. A new RMRC became effective on January 1, 2022, click here to access.

CDA’s Alternative Payment Program allows you to pick your child care provider, no matter what their rates are. But if a provider charges more than what CDA can reimburse that provider, you would pay the difference. This is called a “co-payment.”

Child care rates can vary for each of your children so it is possible to have a co-payment for one child but not another or to have a co-payment for each child. When deciding on a provider, be sure to check if you would have any co-payments.

This infographic helps explain this through a simple example:

Co-payments and family fees are both paid by the parent, to the provider, but they are NOT the same. A co-payment is the difference between what the provider charges and the highest amount that CDA can reimburse that provider. A family fee is based on family income, family size and the amount of certified child care (full-time or part-time) that is authorized.

Certificate for Child Care Services and Attendance Record

A Certificate for Child Care Services is an “Addendum to the Parent’s Notice of Action” that informs you and your provider of approved child care services and other information about your child care case.

A Certificate for Child Care Services shows the following:

  • The certified child care schedule for each child.
  • The maximum reimbursement amount that you are eligible for, per child.
  • Family fees, if applicable.

A new Certificate for Child Care Services will be issued any time:

  • The family selects a new child care provider.
  • The family voluntarily requests a change in child care services or family fees.
  • The maximum reimbursement amount changes due to a change in the RMRC.
  • The family completes recertification.

(1) Complete the attendance record correctly.

  • You and your child care provider must sign each child in and out of care as it happens and must show the actual time (not rounded up or down).
  • Your provider will write in the amount of family fees you paid for that month and you must make sure that it is the right amount.
  • You and your child care provider must sign the bottom of the attendance record, verifying that all the information is correct.

(2) Make sure your provider submits your attendance record by the 10th of the following month.

If your attendance record is not completed correctly, it may cause a delay or denial of reimbursement to your child care provider. In addition, you and/or your provider will be sent a warning letter. This may ultimately result in a termination after a third (3rd) warning letter is issued within the same fiscal year.

Attendance records must be submitted by the 10th each month. Reimbursements are made 12 business days from the date received. If attendance records are received after the 10th of the month, reimbursements are made 15 business days from the date received. To access our Reimbursement Schedule, click here.

Submitting Paperwork

There are many ways you can submit paperwork:

1. Submit Online:

Next time you need to submit a form to CDA, ask your Child Care Eligibility Specialist if we have the form available through DocuSign. To learn how to use DocuSign, visit our How-to Videos Page by clicking here.

For paperwork and forms not available through DocuSign, you can use our submission form by clicking here.

2. Mail it or drop it off at your Specialist’s office:

Bonita Office: 180 Otay Lakes Road, Suite 300, Bonita, CA 91902

Drop box location Flyer – Click to Download

Kearny Mesa Office: 5473 Kearny Villa Road, Suite 350, San Diego, CA 92123

Drop box location Flyer – Click to Download

3. By fax:

Bonita Office: (619) 434-5197

Kearny Mesa Office: (858) 836-8907

4. Need to speak with your Specialist?

Bonita Office: (619) 427-4411 Ext. 1600

Kearny Mesa Office: (619) 427-4411 Ext. 1700