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We have lots of information about the many paths to access financial assistance and subsidized child care.  Please scroll for a summary of available low-cost and no-cost programs in our region.

You may also download two helpful documents:


Child Care Referral Policy

Connections For Children believes that parents are best able to evaluate and select the right child care for their children. We do not recommend any specific provider; we only provide the parent with a list of providers randomly selected from our computerized referral database. Parents are urged to visit any child care facility they may be considering and make their decision carefully.

We serve providers and parents in our area on a non-discriminatory basis, regardless of income, race, religion, national origin, sex, age, or disability. All information received is kept confidential. Please also see our Privacy Policy.


Head Start

Head Start is a comprehensive preschool program for low-income children that provides professional services in education & early childhood development, medical, dental & mental health, nutrition and parent involvement.

Head Start is for children aged 3 to 4 from low income families, including children with special needs, who live within each agency’s area. In order to qualify:

  • A family must meet federal income guidelines which are established by reference to the official poverty line and adjusted annually in accordance with changes in the Consumer Price Index. These guidelines may be waived for families with special circumstances who might benefit from placement in Head Start.
  • A child must not be eligible for kindergarten at the time of enrollment.
  • A child who will be four on or before September 1st will receive priority.
  • A child with a disability will receive priority points.
  • Regardless of any changes in family income, once a child is determined eligible and enrolled in the program, he or she will remain eligible for the program throughout the current year and for a second year, as long as he or she still meets the age requirements.

Early Head-Start

Early Head Start provides services to children ages 8 weeks to 3 years. This includes education, health, nutrition, mental health and developmentally appropriate activities for infants and toddlers, including children with special needs. Families must meet eligibility guidelines established by Head Start.

State Preschool (CSSP)

State Preschool (CSSP) programs offer part time and full time hours for children who are 3 or 4 years old by September 1st. Families access this program by meeting specific income guidelines and other requirements and may be assessed a fee. Those with the greatest need will be served first. Families may remain in the state programs as long as they continue to meet the need and eligibility criteria of the program and follow the program rules and regulations. State preschool provides activities for children.

Full time classes meet at least 6 hours per day; part time classes meet 3 hours per day. All classes meet Monday through Friday and follow the school year calendar. The focus is on literacy, number skills, social development, health and safety. Parents are encouraged to participate in the classrooms as volunteers and are eligible to serve on the program-wide Parent Advisory Committee. CSPP provides children with a daily snack and helps families to access community resources.

Children’s Centers (CCTR)

Children’s Center School Age Programs are funded for eligible children. Families access this program by meeting the following criteria: attending school or working. Each family has a contract that identifies the days/times when childcare will be provided. Fees are based on a sliding scale depending on the family income and child care hours for Children’s Centers. The contract must be periodically recertified (every four months to a year) or whenever there are changes in the family situation.

Cal-Safe

The California School Age Families Education (Cal-SAFE) Program is a comprehensive, integrated, community-linked school-based program that serves expectant and parenting students and their children. The Cal-SAFE Program is designed to improve the educational experience of enrolled students, increase availability of support services for those students, and provide child care and development services for their children.

Los Angeles Universal PreSchool (LAUP)

LAUP Classes meet for three and one half hours a day, Monday through Friday, and follow the school year calendar. LAUP will meet each child’s individual needs and help them to grow cognitively, socially, emotionally and physically by building on individual cultural and linguistic strengths. LAUP includes children with disabilities and other special needs. LAUP emphasizes parent engagement through advisory groups, parent surveys, classroom volunteering and special events.

Families access this program by meeting the following eligibility requirements:

  • Child(ren) must be four years of age on or before September 1st of the current year
  • Four-year old children are eligible to attend LAUP preschool for one year only
  • Proof of age eligibility is based on original birth certificate, passport, and official documents from another country
  • Proof of children’s residence in Los Angeles County is required (i.e. current utility bill).

Alternative Payment (CAPP)

Helps pay for child care services for parents who are employed, participating in a vocational goal or job training, or engaged in other approved activities. As CAPP funding becomes available, the most eligible families receive services first through our internal ranking system. Families may remain in the CAPP program as long as they continue to meet the need and eligibility criteria of the program and follow the program rules and regulations.

Parents are eligible for the program if they:

  • Meet state income guidelines
  • Have children up through age 12, (13-21 years old if child has special needs)
  • Use child care in our service area, and
  • Need child care because they are employed, seeking employment, in a vocational training, seeking permanent housing, and/or incapacitated

CalWORKS Stage 2 Child Care (C2AP)

Families have access to this program if they have previously received public cash assistance (welfare) or a diversion payment through the Department of Public Social Services. Families may be eligible for this program for up to 24 months after discontinuing cash assistance as long as they continue to meet the need and eligibility criteria of the program and follow the program rules and regulations.

Must also meet the following:

  • Meet state income guidelines
  • Have children up through age 12 (13-21 years old if child has special needs)
  • Use child care in our service area, and
  • Need child care because they are employed, seeking employment, in a vocational training, seeking permanent housing, and/or incapacitated.

CalWORKS Stage 3 Child Care (C3AP)

This program is available to families who continue to need child care services after their 24 months of eligibility expires in C2AP. Families may access this program only if they transfer directly from a C2AP program with no break in services. Families may remain on the C3AP program as long as they continue to meet the need and eligibility criteria of the program and follow the program rules and regulations.

Parents must also meet the following:

  • Meet state income guidelines,
  • Have children up through age 12 (13-21 years old if child has special needs),
  • Use child care in our service area, and
  • Need child care because they are employed, seeking employment, in a vocational training, seeking permanent housing, and/or incapacitated.

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