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 San Diego Essential Workers and At-Risk Populations Eligible To Enroll In Emergency Subsidized Child Care Services

​San Diego essential workers and at-risk populations may be eligible to enroll their children in emergency subsidized child care so they can continue to work and protect our community during the COVID-19 crisis. Child Development Associates (CDA) and the YMCA of San Diego County Childcare Resource Service (YMCA CRS), which operate the two largest subsidized child care programs in the region, began processing vouchers for essential worker families yesterday. 

On April 10, Governor Newsom released $50 million to pay for limited-term additional state subsidized child care vouchers for essential workers and at-risk populations. On April 17, San Diego County’s two Alternative Payment Program agencies, CDA and YMCA CRS, received contracts from the California Department of Education (CDE) for $5.1 million in child care vouchers and administrative costs of the program. An estimated 2,664 children will be provided with two months of childcare. 

Family eligibility and enrollment priorities include:

  1. At-Risk Populations including children at risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation; children eligible through Emergency Child Care Bridge Program for Foster Children; families experiencing homelessness, or children of domestic violence survivors.
  2. Essential workers in the following sectors, whose total family income does not exceed the current income eligibility threshold and are not able to work remotely. Both parents must be essential workers to qualify. Review list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers.
  3. Families with children with disabilities or special health care needs whose IEPs and IFSPs include ELC services.
  4. Essential workers listed in #2 above, whose total family income exceeds the current income eligibility threshold and are not able to work remotely.

Families who meet these requirements may begin the enrollment process online. This emergency child care program has a streamlined enrollment process so families can get quickly connected to the care they need. Emergency child care services under this program will be available through June 30, 2020. 

“COVID-19 has highlighted the critical role child care plays in our community,” said YMCA CRS Executive Director Kim McDougal. “These vouchers are a lifesaver for families who need to work and for the child care providers who are open and want to care for families while following public health guidelines.”

“Confronting this crisis has required partnership and quick action across sectors in our community,” said CDA President and CEO Rick Richardson. “We are proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our State agencies, philanthropy community, and other nonprofits to support our essential workers and child care field.”

In the alternative payment program, families receive subsidy vouchers to get care from the child care provider of the parents’ choice. This includes services from licensed child care centers or family child care homes, or license-exempt caregivers, such as friends or relatives who provide in-home care. Payments will be made directly to the child care provider.

Families seeking child care can call the YMCA Childcare Resource Service Resource & Referral line, staffed seven days a week to help parents find a child care provider that meets their needs. Call 800-481-2151 to reach an advisor. Learn more at