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Children's Home Society Of California Child Care Assistance Programs

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Children's Home Society of California has three Child Care Assistance Programs that provide subsidized child care services to eligible families, including Alternative Payment, CalWORKs, and Child Protective Services. Through these programs, in fiscal year 2006, CHS provided services to over 20,000 children and over 11,000 families. In all, more than 3,975,000 days of care were provided to children across California.

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Alternative Payment Program
This program pays for all or part of child care expenses while parents work, seek work, attend school, seek permanent housing, are deemed incapacitated and/or at risk by a legally qualified professional, and/or are receiving child protective services. Through this program, participating families select caregivers from a variety of licensed and license-exempt child care providers throughout the community.

CalWORKs
As families are transitioning off cash aid/welfare assistance, it is essential that parents have access to subsidized child care to gain financial independence. CHS provides parents with child care referrals, technical assistance, and assistance with the cost of child care. Families are referred to CHS through local offices of the California Department of Social Services (CDSS).

Child Protective Services
This prevention program provides child care to children certified to be at risk of abuse or neglect because of inappropriate parenting, a family medical emergency, or other family crisis. Eligibility is established by written referral from a qualified medical, legal, or social services entity.

What makes a family eligible for the Child Care
Assistance Programs?

• How can a family apply for child care assistance through CHS?
• What gives a family priority to enroll?
• Does CHS place children in care?
• Can parents change child care providers?
• After a parent is enrolled, when can child care begin?
• Once enrolled, how long does a family remain eligible for child care assistance?
• How does CHS approve child care hours?
• Can a parent use child care for personal reasons?
• If a parent is unable to contact CHS to report changes in her need for care, can the provider report the changes for the parent?
• Are child care services terminated if a family temporarily does not need them?
• If a parent disagrees with an action taken by CHS, what are the parent's rights?
• If a child care provider knows a parent is using child care services in a misleading, false, or fraudulent manner, is the provider required to report this information to CHS?

How can a family apply for child care assistance through CHS?
Families must apply for child care assistance by contacting their county's Centralized Eligibility List (CEL) and completing an eligibility questionnaire. As funds are available, CHS pulls lists of families from CEL and enrolls families according to the admission priorities set by the California Department of Education (CDE).

What gives a family priority to enroll?
Families with the lowest income adjusted for family size are served first.

Does CHS place children in care?
No. The parents or guardians are responsible for selecting a child care provider for their children.

Can parents change child care providers?
Yes. Parents may change child care providers, but they must contact CHS in advance.

After a parent is enrolled, when can child care begin?
CHS will notify the chosen child care provider when the family is certified to begin using child care services. 

Once enrolled, how long does a family remain eligible for child care assistance?
A family must re-certify for eligibility every 12 months. In addition, a family must maintain eligibility and have the need for care at all times. Eligibility and need vary depending on the specific program in which the family is enrolled.

How does CHS approve child care hours?
The approved child care hours are based on the hours that care is needed while the parent is working, in school or training, or seeking employment. For a two-parent family, hours are based on the parent needing the least amount of child care. Parents must submit documentation of need before child care hours can be approved.

Can a parent use child care for personal reasons?
No. CHS will pay for care only while a parent is working, seeking work, or in school or a training program. Parents are responsible for care they may need for any other reasons.

If a parent is unable to contact CHS to report changes in her need for care, can the provider report the changes for the parent?
No. The parent is responsible for contacting CHS to report any changes. In addition, all information regarding families and children is kept strictly confidential. CHS will only disclose information about a child or family that is directly related to administrating the Child Care Assistance Program.

Are child care services terminated if a family temporarily does
not need them?

No. The family may be granted a Limited Term Service Leave, which is a leave of absence of up to 12 consecutive weeks. In the case of medical or maternity reasons, a leave of up to 16 consecutive weeks may be granted. During the Limited Term Service Leave, the provider will not receive payment and is not required to hold the child's space in the child care program during the time the family is on leave.

If a parent disagrees with an action taken by CHS, what are the parent's rights?
The parent has the right to file a request for an appeal hearing within 19 calendar days of the date the Notice of Action was issued. The action will be suspended until the review process has been completed.

If a child care provider knows a parent is using child care services in a misleading, false, or fraudulent manner, is the provider required to report this information to CHS?
Yes. Providers have a responsibility to inform CHS if a parent participating in the Child Care Assistance Programs violates the eligibility or need requirements.

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