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Child Care Pilot Program

Individualized County Child Care Subsidy Pilot Program

child with brightly colored hair, paintingThe purpose of the Santa Cruz County Individualized Child Care Subsidy (Pilot) Program is to provide flexibility to establish state early learning and care contract policies, address local needs and priorities that would increase access to child care and to ensure continuity of care for eligible children and families. There are 9 state funded early learning and care programs participating in the Pilot program. The Pilot Plan was authorized by the California Department of Education (CDE) in 2019. Happily, many of the proposed contract modifications have become law since CDE approved the Pilot flexibilities for Santa Cruz County.

The Santa Cruz County Pilot was made possible through AB 300, authored by Assembly member Caballero. This Bill permitted the Santa Cruz County Pilot Plan to supersede state law in specific areas, such as:

  • Eligibility criteria (age, family size, income level, and special needs considerations)
  • Families with children enrolled in part-day California State Preschool Program services, may be eligible for up to two 180-day periods within a 24-month period, without the family being certified as a new enrollment each year.

The Santa Cruz County Pilot Plan was created in collaboration with First 5 Santa Cruz County, State Subsidized Child Care Programs, Mission Analytics and the Childhood Advisory Council. Programs using approved flexibilities demonstrated the need, the ability to increase early care access, and the ability to reach a greater number of eligible families to be served by Early Education Division (EED) and Department of Social Services (CDSS).