Quality child care programs can be costly for a lot of families. It’s important to understand that help is available for families through subsidy programs. We assist families in identifying child care and other community resources that meet the specific needs of the child and family. Our staff and resources encompass a wide variety of cultural perspectives and language requirements of the families we serve.

Alternative Payment program

The Alternative Payment (AP) program offers child care subsidies to families who qualify for child care services based on income and need.

The AP program serves children:

  • Infant to 13 years old
  • 18 to 21 years old for people with documented exceptional needs, as long as a parent or caregiver remains eligible for the program.

Program Eligibility

In order to qualify for subsidized child care services, adult family members must be one of the following:

  • Employed or looking for work (for no more than 60 days per family per fiscal year)
  • Enrolled in job-related training
  • Medically incapacitated
  • Homeless
  • Referred through Child Protective Services
  • Participants in CalWORKS and deemed stable by the County Welfare Department

Applying for Alternative Program

Families are enrolled in the Alternative Payment program either through the San Diego County Centralized Eligibility List (CEL) or as transfers from the county.

CEL Enrollment Process

  • A family’s application becomes eligible from the CEL in rank order.
  • The family receives a phone call, a letter in the mail, or an e-mail indicating that their application is eligible.
  • The family attends an intake appointment.
  • Visit the CEL Website for more information.

If you’ve never received aid, or have had more than 24 months ago, and have need for child care services, contact the San Diego County Centralized Eligibility List (CEL) at 1-800-521-0560 or visit www.childcaresandiego.com to learn about income requirements.