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The Voucher Project is a child care subsidy program funded by the State Department of Education. The program is designed to financially assist families eligible families living in Santa Cruz County. Eligibility guidelines are determined by the State Department of Education and are based on family size, gross monthly income, and need. Families wishing to apply for assistance through the Voucher Project will be required to complete a Statement of Need. The Statement of Need will be used to determine eligibility for the program and need for assistance, and then the family will be placed on a waiting list.

How do I know if I am eligible for Subsidized Childcare?

Waiting List
Families wishing to apply for certification through the Voucher Project will be required to complete a Statement of Need for determining eligibility and need, and will then be placed on a waiting list. When openings occur, a family from the waiting list will be certified based on the priorities as outlined in the State guidelines, not the length of time on the waiting list. The Voucher Project staff works closely with the Child Development Resource Center (CDRC) Child Care Switchboard in an effort to assist parents (both certified and on the waiting list) in finding appropriate child care.

Participation
Families who are certified for child care payments through the Voucher Project may choose care in a licensed child care center or family day care home (or with a pre-approved licensed-exempt individual) which operates within Santa Cruz County. The rates charged for services must be within the agency's ability to pay and are also governed by the Regional Market Rate ceilings established by the State Department of Education. Under specific funding types, payment may not be possible for programs which include religious worship or instruction. The rates for Child care services must be the same as those charged to all parents regardless of whether they are private-paying or subsidized parents. As well, parents may be responsible for any difference between what the agency may be able to reimburse and what the parent contracts with the child care provider.

Payment
The Voucher Project pays the child care provider on a reimbursement basis - that is, payment is made after the month of service is complete. Depending upon the family's income and size, some parents may be required to pay a share of the cost for their child care services (family fee). The share of cost or family fee is determined by the State Department of Education is required to be paid in advance, based on a sliding scare, and made directly to the Voucher Project. Failure to pay the family fee by the agency deadline will result in termination of child care services. Some parents may also be required to pay a portion or co-payment for their child care costs if their providers rates for services are higher than the established Regional Market Rates ceilings or are above what the agency's policies allow.

The Santa Cruz County Parents Association, Voucher Project receives funding from a number of contracts. At the time of certification and Recertification, the Voucher Project staff will determine which funding resource is available and the most appropriate to serve new or continuing families.


Program Fund Sources

General Fund Alternative Payment Program:

  • Child is eligible until age 13

  • Family/parent eligibility and need are based on child protective services, employment, seeking employment, vocational training leading directly to a recognized trade, profession, or paraprofession, homeless, public assistant recipient, or incapacity of parent or child

  • Child care services may not include sectarian providers

Federal Fund Alternative Payment Program:

  • Child is eligible until age 13

  • Family/parent eligibility and need are based on child protective services, employment, seeking employment, vocational training leading directly to a recognized trade, profession, or paraprofession

  • Child care services may include sectarian providers

CalWORKs Stage 2 Programs:

  • Child is eligible until age 13

  • Family/parent must be receiving cash aid or a former recipient referred by the Human Resources Agency (Santa Cruz County Welfare Department)

  • Parent/family eligibility and need are based on an approved work activity (if receiving cash aid) or must be employed, seeking employment, or participating in a vocational training leading directly to a recognized trade, profession, or paraprofession

  • family eligibility is up to 24 months after the family is no longer receiving cash aid

CalWORKs Stage 3 Programs:

  • Child is eligible until age 13

  • Parent must be in an approved work activity (if receiving cash aid) or must be employed, seeking employment, or participating in a vocational training leading directly to a recognized trade, profession, or paraprofession

  • Parent must be transitioning from Stage 2 and either referred by the Human Resources Agency for transfer to the Voucher Project or be transitioning from Stage 2 within this agency.

  • If there are no openings on Stage 3 programs, parents must return to the waiting list after their 24-month eligibility period for Stage 2 program ends