More Families Now Eligible for Free or Affordable Preschool and Child Care

Posted by: Unknown on Tuesday, July 11, 2017 at 12:00:00 pm

The Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County (4Cs), is happy to announce that the budget just enacted by the California Legislature and signed by Governor Brown has increased funding for preschool, early education, and child care. This will result in more families qualifying for services, families qualifying for longer periods of time, and of the increased qualify of state subsidized early education programs.

Income ceilings to qualify for services have been increased for the first time since 2007, and go into effect July 1, 2017. As an example, the monthly income ceiling for a family of four was $3,908 and is now $4,877. A new, higher, income ceiling has been added in order for families to receive services for longer. Once receiving services, a family of 4 will now remain eligible for services until their monthly income exceeds $5,922. Families will now stay eligible for services for a minimum of 12 months, and not have to produce proof of eligibility every 4 months, like many families have had to do in the past.

For Fiscal Year 2017­–­18, contractors must use the following chart when determining initial income eligibility.

NEW Schedule of Income Ceilings (70 percent SMI) for Initial Certification Child Care and Development Programs

Family Size

Family Monthly Income

Family Yearly Income






















NEW Schedule of Income Ceilings (85 percent SMI) for Recertification Child Care and Development Programs

Family Size

Family Monthly Income

Family Yearly Income






















The rates paid by the State of California to administer preschool and child care programs have been increased as well, as a part of a multi-year agreement for early education to keep up with minimum wage increases. The budget also contains increased funding for emergency child care for foster children, and assistance for foster families to find emergency child care if they have suddenly taken custody of a foster child.

The benefits of quality child care are clear. Research shows that  high-quality early childhood development programs support two generations — helping working parents to be more productive, while providing their children with lifelong skills. This is essential to a healthy economy, especially now in times of historically low unemployment. High-quality early childhood programs deliver a return of 13 percent per child per year, a better return than investing in the S&P 500, and in the long term, society reaps $7 for every $1 spent in early childhood programs.

Quality child care between prenatal years and age 5 greatly increases a child’s chances of earning a higher income, being healthy and avoiding prison later in life. Quality, affordable child care is a mechanism for breaking cycles of poverty and gives our youngest children the best possible start in life.

“Investing in our children and their care is one of the best investments our state can make, and Californians and other Americans agree. We are grateful to our legislators and Governor for enabling more low income families to go to work and to school, and more children to be ready to succeed in school and in life!” said Lara Magnusdottir, Public Policy Director of 4Cs.

With the increase of the income limits, parents who may not have qualified before may now qualify for free or affordable preschool and child care. 4Cs encourages families to contact our offices to see if they are now eligible for services.

Community Child Care Council operates 11 state funded preschools throughout Sonoma County that prepare children for school and life success while allowing their parents to work or attain vocational education. Additional programs include the subsidized child care, nutrition (also in Napa and Marin Counties) and resource and referral services.

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Santa Rosa, CA 95404


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