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 eligible for subsidized child care services, your family must meet at least one of each of the following eligibility and need requirements:

Eligibility Requirement

  • Current CalWORKs aid recipient
  • Child Protective Services (CPS) or at risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation
  • Participating in a means-tested government program:

-Child Only Cash Aid




-Head Start

-Early Head Start

-The Federal Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations

-California Food Assistance Program

  • Homeless
  • Income eligible (see Income Eligibility Table on question 2)

Need Requirement

Each adult in the family size has one or more of the following need categories:

  • Working
  • Looking for work
  • In school or job training
  • Parental incapacity
  • Child Protective Services (CPS) or at risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation
  • Experiencing Homelessness
  • Seeking permanent housing

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 $6,128 $6,931

$8,025 $9,309 $10,593 $10,834 $11,074 $11,315 $11,556 $11,797 $12,037

Effective July 1st, 2023. Subject to change.

Families who are currently receiving CalWORKs cash aid are eligible for free or reduced cost child care services. Speak to one of our friendly team members for more information on need requirements.

Families who have received CalWORKs cash aid within the last 24 months may be eligible for free or reduced cost child care services. Speak to one of our friendly team members for more information on eligibility and need requirements.

Families must complete a recertification at the end of each 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 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 any specific child care provider, but we encourage you to use the following resources:

CDA Provider Referral Program

Upon request, CDA will refer enrolled families to licensed child care providers who have opted in to CDA’s referral program and are actively participating on CDA’s Alternative Payment Program. Providers will be selected randomly and basic contact information will be supplied to the family. The family chooses if they want to make contact with the provider or not. Families will receive up to 4 provider names per request.

YMCA Child Care Resource Service

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 the Attendance Record on time, as early as the first business day following the month of care.

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. If a fourth Attendance Record Warning Notice is issued within the same fiscal year the parent or provider, as applicable, will need to attend a consultation meeting to review how to complete the Attendance Record accurately.

Attendance records may be submitted to Child Development Associates (CDA) as early as the first business day following the month of child care. Reimbursement will be issued to child care providers within 21 calendar days of receipt of complete Attendance Records. To access our Reimbursement Schedule, click here.

Submitting Paperwork

There are many ways you can submit paperwork:

1. Submit Online:

You can download and submit documents securely via CareConnect Family. To learn how to use CareConnect Family visit our How-to Videos Page by clicking here.

You can also securely submit documents and report changes to your Child Care Eligibility Specialist from our website, click 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. Need to speak with your Specialist?

Bonita Office: (619) 427-4411

Kearny Mesa Office: (619) 427-4411