Paying for Early Care and Education

If you need help paying for preschool or child care, you may be able to quality for financial assistance.

The Orange County Department of Education, Child Care Services (OCDE CCS) unit administers the Alternative Payment Program through funding provided by the California Department of Education. Subsidized child care services are provided for eligible families through contracts established between ODCE CCS and Children’s Home Society of California (CHS) and child care providers in Orange County.

OCDE CCS may pay for all or part of child care expenses while parents work, seek employment, participate in a training program, seek permanent housing, are incapacitated as deemed by a legally qualified professional, or are receiving Child Protective Services.

Who qualifies to receive child care assistance?

Subsidized child care services are provided for eligible families who meet the following requirements:

  • Income requirements according to their family size as established by CDE CDD
  • Referred by Social Services Agency as part of CalWORKs program
  • Referred by the local County Welfare Department, Child Protective Services Unit certifying that the child is receiving child protective services
  • Referred by a legally qualified professional that the child is at risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation​

Types of eligible child care providers

Families may choose family child care homes, license exempt providers, center programs, and school districts. Parents are responsible for selecting a child care setting that best reflects their parental and cultural values while meeting the special physical, social, emotional, cognitive, behavioral and creative needs of their children.

OCDE CCS does not make referrals or a recommendation of child care providers and is not responsible for the quality of care provided. Click here for tips on finding quality care.

How to find out if you are eligible

  • Call Children’s Home Society of California (CHS) at (714) 543-2273 to request an eligibility questionnaire. They maintain the eligibility list for Orange County.
  • If you are NOT eligible for subsidized child care services, you will be notified by mail by CHS.
  • If you ARE eligible for subsidized child care services you will be placed on an eligibility list.
  • OCDE and CHS share all eligibility information contained on the eligibility questionnaires.
  • You will be notified by CHS or OCDE when funding is available.

To learn more about your options, check out these resources:

Children’s Home Society: Child Care Assistance Programs (714) 456-9800