Child Care Links

Providing Resources that
Strengthen and Support
Children & their Families

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Child Care Assistance

Last Updated: 11/14/2018

Child Care Links provides needed funds to families to pay for child care costs, through county, state and federal Subsidy and CalWORKs programs. Funding for child care payments is available to eligible families, based on income, family size and need for services. Subsidy and CalWORKs programs serve children, infant to thirteen years of age. Child Care Links is a parental choice program, and allows parents/guardians to select Child Care Providers who will best meet the needs of their child/children and family.

» Child Care Links Eligibility List Application

» Child Care Links Program Policies & Participation Handbook: A Handbook for Participants and Child Care Providers.

Subsidy and CalWORKs FAQ’s

What types of child care assistance programs does Child Care Links offer?

Child Care Links offers Subsidy Programs through the State Department of Education, Federal Grants and the Alameda County Social Services Department.

What are the Child Care Links service areas?

Child Care Links Geographical Coverage Area

California Alternative CalWorks CalWorks
Payment Program Stage I Stage II & III
Dublin Albany Dublin
Fremont Alameda Fremont
Livermore Berkeley Livermore
NewarkDublin Newark
Pleasanton Emeryville Pleasanton
Sunol Livermore Sunol
Union City Oakland Union City

Do I have to be a single parent?


Does Child Care Links provide child care on site?


Who should I contact when I have questions?

To ensure confidentiality, your Eligibility Specialist (ES) is the only person who has access to your file.

Does Child Care Links accept debit/credit card payments for family fees?

We accept debit card payments for family fees, along with cash, checks, and money orders. We do not accept credit card payments for family fees.

Why do I have to come in to the office ?

State and Federal funding sources require that we see you in person for a certification appointment, as there are documents that need to be signed and witnessed by our staff, to verify your identity and documents.

If Child Care Links is closed, where can I drop off paperwork?

Secure drop-boxes are located outside of the Pleasanton and Oakland offices and are checked daily.

CalWORKs and Subsidy programs

What is CalWORKs?

The California Work Opportunities and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) Program is a welfare-to-work program providing Cash-Aid and services to eligible needy California families.

What does Stage 1, 2 and 3 mean?

The three stages, Stage 1, Stage 2, and Stage 3, relate to the child care portion of the CalWORKs programs. Each stage has specific eligibility criteria. Your eligibility will be determined when you meet with your Eligibility Specialist.

What is Subsidized Child Care?

Subsidized Child Care is financial assistance intended to lower the cost of child care for families who have a need for child care services.

What age range of children does the program cover?

Child Care Links pays for child care for children, infant to thirteen years of age. With verification, children with exceptional needs and severely disabled children may receive services up to the age of 21.

What are the income requirements?

Eligibility is based on a family’s total countable gross income (all income of individuals counted in the family size).

What constitutes family size?

Family size is the parent/s and the child/children who comprise the household in which the child/children receiving services is living. For purposes of income eligibility and family fee determination, when a child/children and his or her siblings are living in a family that does not include their biological or adoptive parent (ie. non-relative guardian or foster parent, etc.), “family” shall be considered the child and related siblings.

How long will I have to wait on the Child Care Links Eligibility List?

The length of time varies. Eligible families are placed on the Eligibility List based on family size and lowest income first. Children at risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation have first priority, regardless of income.

Do I have to pay to be on the program?

Although some families receive child care at no cost, co-payments and family fees may be employed based on family size and gross income, and Child Care Provider choice.

What is a Co-Payment and Family Fee

A Co-Payment occurs when a parent/guardian chooses a Child Care Provider whose rate exceeds the allowable amount determined by the State of California.  A family is responsible for the difference between the Child Care Provider’s rate and the maximum allowable rate determined by the State of California.Co-payments are paid directly to the Child Care Provider.

A Family Fee is the monthly dollar amount a family is required to pay during a month of subsidized child care services, based on family size and gross income. This fee can fluctuate based on family size and income.

How often do I have to pay a Family Fee or Co-Payment?

Family fees are paid monthly. Co-payment schedules are determined between the parent/guardian and the Child Care Provider.

If I do not pay my Family Fees, will my Child Care Provider be paid?

Failure to pay Family Fees may result in termination from Child Care Links Subsidy Programs, and payments to Child Care Providers will end.

How does my Child Care Provider get paid?

Payment will be issued through one of two methods: Direct Deposit into the Child Care Provider’s checking account or loaded onto a Stagecoach Prepaid Debit Card issued to the Child Care Provider. Child Care Provider’s may choose either method of payment.

How long does it take for my Child Care Provider to receive their payment?

Once an Attendance Sheet is submitted to Child Care Links, Child Care Links has15 business days to issue payment to the Child Care Provider.

How long can I be on the program?

A participant may remain on the program as long as they are eligible, have a need for services and follow program guidelines.

What documents will I need to show for enrollment?

Required documents vary based on need for services. You will be advised by your Eligibility Specialist which documents are necessary, when you schedule your appointment.

How often do I need to recertify?

Recertification times may vary, from every three months, to every twelve months, based on need for services and reported changes.

Can I seek employment while on the Child Care Links child care assistance program?

Yes, Child Care Links will provide child care services during job search. However, if you become employed during this time, you must report your new employment status to your Eligibility Specialist immediately.

Finding a Child Care Provider

How do I find a Child Care Provider?

Child Care Links is a parental choice program. The program allows parents/guardians to select a Child Care Provider who best meets the needs of their child/children and family. If you would like to find a Licensed Child Care Provider, your Eligibility Specialist can refer you to your local Resource and Referral agency.

Who can provide child care for my child/children?

Licensed Child Care Centers, Licensed Family Child Care Homes, Before and/or After school programs, and License Exempt Providers (friends or family members who are at least 18 years of age).

May I use more than one Child Care Provider?

Yes. Please discuss this with your Eligibility Specialist at time of enrollment.

Can my Child Care Provider provide child care in my home?

Only Stage 1 of the CalWORKs program allows for child care to be provided in the child’s home.


What is TrustLine?

A registry of Licensed Exempt Child Care Providers who have passed a background screening (fingerprint and criminal record clearance) to ensure the health and safety of children

How long does TrustLine take to clear?

Many are processed within one month, however, times may vary based on criteria received.

What will cause a denial from TrustLine?

Disqualifying criminal convictions or substantiated child abuse reports in California will cause a denial from TrustLine.

Can you appeal a TrustLine denial?

Yes, please go to for more information.

Will Child Care Links pay my Child Care Provider while she or he is appealing a TrustLine denial?

No, Child Care Links cannot pay a Child Care Provider whose TrustLine has been denied or closed.


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