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California Child Care Providers Can Prioritize Essential Workers

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An analysis of more than 100 L.A. County childcare providers found on average there’s a $4,000 to $8,000 gap per child per year between the actual cost of care and the public funding available. (Mariana Dale/ LAist)
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California is expanding its subsidized child care program to include more children of essential workers who can't work remotely.

The California Department of Education issued new guidance outlining how providers should prioritize the enrollment of new families through June 30.

Here is the order of priority:

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  • Children from “at-risk” populations, including survivors of domestic violence.
  • Families of essential workers who don't exceed the current income eligibility level. Families qualify for subsidized care if they make at or below 85% of the state’s median yearly income, which for a family of three is $69,620.
  • Families with children with disabilities on individualized education programs and/or individual family support plans with early learning and care.
  • Families of essential workers who make more than the current income eligibility level.

One limit is that there is currently no additional funding for subsidized care that was already in short supply.

“The CDE is working with the Administration to identify additional funding to support increased subsidized access to Emergency Childcare,” the guidance reads.

Los Angeles County and several child care organizations have collaborated to create a hotline, 888-92CHILD (922-4453), and a website where essential workers can get information about services near them.

“There was this new sense of urgency, ensuring our first responders, our health care workers and others who don’t have the luxury of working from home right now, that we all make sure we come together to support them in meeting their child care needs,” said L.A. County Superintendent of Schools Debra Duardo.

The county is also working with several organizations to secure supplies like diapers and funding for essential worker parents who pay for child care privately.

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