High-quality, affordable Child Care is essential to a families’ stability, children’s healthy development, and, most importantly, the parent’s ability to work. In 1997 the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) Child Care Program was established by the Welfare-to-Work Act to provide low-income families and participants in the welfare program Child Care paid by the state.
This program was designed for temporary assistance to help families as they move through their Welfare to-Work (WTW) activities towards employment and on to self-sufficiency. CalWORKs is overseen by the California Department of Social Services (DPSS), however is operated and managed by the 58 counties in California.
Families who are eligible for this program can choose the type of Child Care they feel are best for their children. There are many options, which include: A relative, friend, family Child Care provider, some recreational programs, and licensed Child Care centers. Your provider must meet certain requirements and the Child Care must be with an eligible provider. These are licensed Child Care providers or providers who are not licensed but have their background checked and become registered through a program called TrustLine. A grandparent, aunt, or uncle of the child will not need a background check but must turn in a form called a Declaration of Exemption from TrustLine Registration And Health And Safety Self-Certification.
How CalWORKs is designed is that the state will reimburse the Child Care for all children under the age of 13, and older children that have qualifying disabilities which prevents them from being left alone. Those who qualify are CalWORKs recipients that are participating in approved WTW activities or employment that’s listed in their WTW plan. In addition, CalWORKs makes subsidized Child Care available to past CalWORKs grantees if they need it and meet specific requirements.
Some clients that participate in this program are required to pay a share of the Child Care cost, which are known as family fees. Those fees do not apply to those that are receiving CalWORKs cash aid, sanctioned families, and safety net families. Families who are asked to help cover costs will only have to pay a small fee that’s based upon their income relative to the size of their family.
The CalWORKs Child Care program is managed into three different stages. As families move from receiving CalWORKS cash assistance, hopefully, they will transition between the three different stages of CalWorks Child Care, if they remain qualified.