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Frequently Asked Questions (baby playing with computer)
How Can I Find Child Care In My Neighborhood?
CHILDREN'S HOME SOCIETY OF CALIFORNIA (CHS) is a Child Care Resources and Referral Program serving all of Orange County. Parents can obtain information about child care programs matched to their needs and preferences. Listings are maintained on licensed family child care homes and child care centers.

CHS also offers a hotline:
KID-CARE Hotline
(714) 543-2273

The hotline also provides the following:
  • Information on child care assistance
  • Subsidized programs
  • Background check for in-home providers
  • Parent workshops
    Is There Any Financial Assistance To Pay For Child Care In OC?
    Yes, there are several different types of subsidies.

    Families receiving any type of welfare support and who are working or going to school are entitled to child care support. Contact your case worker and request child care. Or call the County of Orange, Social Service Agency for a referral to their closest regional office.

    County of Orange, Social Service Agency
    Phone: (714) 541-7700

    Alternative Payment Program
    Families who meet income requirements based on their family size, as established by the California Department of Education (CDE), Child Development Division (CDD) and who are working or going to school; are employed or are seeking employment (60 days allowed per fiscal year); are incapacitated and unable to care for their child(ren) for part of the day; or are referred by a social service agency or legally qualified professional identifying that the child(ren) is/are at risk of abuse or neglect without child care assistance; or referred by a legally qualified professional describing child's special need, which cannot be met without provision of child care and development services.

    Call Children's Home Society (CHS) to request an eligibility questionnaire.
    • An eligibility questionnaire will be mailed to you.
    • Answer all questions and mail it back to CHS.
    • If you are NOT eligible for subsidized child care services, you will be notified by mail.
    • If you ARE eligible, you will receive a rank number from 1 to 75 based on your gross income adjusted for your family size, and your information will be kept on file.
    When there is an opening for someone at your rank, you will be notified either by mail or phone. Families who submit an eligibility questionnaire and are eligible to receive subsidized child care services, are ranked from 1 to 75 based on their gross income and adjusted for their family size and demonstrated need.
    As openings occur and funding becomes available, families are enrolled by the following priorities:
    • Families who have a Child Protective Services referral, whose children are at risk of abuse or neglect.
    • Families with lowest ranking based on gross income and family size.
    Note: This is not a traditional waiting list. Families in lowest rank will be served first, when funding is available. Children's Home Society cannot determine how long a family will wait for services since the number of people at each rank can change daily with each eligibility questionnaire received.

    State Subsidized Child Care Centers (General Child Care)
    The State contracts with several local school districts and private child care centers to offer child care to families who qualify as stated above. Check with your local school district or call the Orange County Department of Education for a complete listing.

    Orange County Child Care and Development Planning Council
    220 23rd Street
    Costa Mesa, CA 92627
    Phone: (949) 548-3194
    Fax: (949) 548-7436

    Head Start
    Head Start is a federally funded program that offers half-day and full-day child care, health, and social services for families with children aged 3 to 5 years of age, based on Federal Income Guidelines.

    Those eligible include:
    • Families with children from 4 through 4 years
    • Children with special needs with an Individual Education Plan (IEP), Individual Family Services Plan (IFSP), foster children, with high risk factors, or with a parent with a disability and/or possessing disabling conditions.
    • Families of immigrants or refugees
    • Families participating in CalWorks, working full time, attending school or job training
    Head Start is available at no cost to income eligible families.
    For a complete visiting of programs in the local area, call Orange County Head Start.

    Orange County Head Start, Inc.
    2900 South Harbor Blvd. Suite 101
    Santa Ana, CA 92704
    Phone: (714) 241-8920
    Fax: (714) 241-0384
    How Can I Start A Family Child Care Business In My Home?
    Call the local office of the California Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division to register for a free Orientation Session, which are held once each month. To obtain a license, all must first attend this informational workshop.

    California Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division
    Phone: (714) 703-2828