How can I get assistance paying for child care in LA

18th Jan 2018

FAQs for Receiving Assistance Paying for Child Care

Pathways LA gets a lot of questions about qualifying for child care assistance as well as the process involved in receiving it. We’ve tried to compile the most frequently asked questions and keep them in one place for easy reference. The list isn’t exhaustive so if you have any questions, please contact our Resource and Referral Specialists for more help!


Questions regarding CalWorks (Stage 1) Programs

Q:What are the eligibility requirements to be in Stage 1?

A: To be eligible in Stage 1 both the parent and child must be receiving cash aid (TANF), and the parent must be in a county approved Welfare-to-Work activity. If part of a two parent household, both individuals must be in a Welfare-to-Work activity.

Q: Once I am determined eligible for Stage 1 child care, how long until my case is approved?

A: The County allows 30 calendar days for the participant to submit all required forms needed to approve child care services. Once the requested documents are submitted to our office, documents will be reviewed and verified to determine accuracy and completeness of forms. If forms are missing or incomplete, the participant will be contacted via mail detailing all pending items. Once all documents are completed and returned, the case will be forward for final review and you will be mailed a Notice of Action, informing you of the outcome of your case.

Participants are encouraged to submit paperwork as soon as possible to allow sufficient time to process their application. Delays in submitting paperwork can result in the child care request being denied.

Q: What is a Notice of Action?

A: A legal notice used to inform participants of actions taken by the child care agency to approve, deny, change and terminate child care services. All participants have the right to appeal a child care decision if they are not in agreement with the action.

The notice of action will clearly define the child care authorization by indicating the children approved, the date range, and the hours and days that are approved for child care services. The notice of action will also advise the participant of any additional requirements needed to reimburse the child care provider, such as a need for the monthly submission of a Variable Schedule (ST1-22).

Q: What is the Stage 1 Child Care Participant-Provider Services Agreement (ST1-05)?

A: The services agreement is an agreement made between the participant and child care provider with regards to child care arrangements. Participants are highly encouraged to inquire with the selected child care provider regarding their individual policies and procedures before starting child care.

Q: Once I submit the Stage 1 Child Care Participant-Provider Services Agreement (ST1-05) can I automatically begin using child care services from my child care provider?

A: Submitting the Parent Provider Services Agreement does NOT guarantee payment to the child care provider. The parent will be responsible for payment to the provider if child care services begin and the case is denied.

Q: Can I fax in the paperwork?

A: Unfortunately Pathways does NOT accept faxed copies of contractual documentation. Forms such as The Parent Provider Services Agreement (ST1-05) are legal documents, as a result only originals can be accepted with original signatures.

Q: The child care provider I selected is NOT related by blood or marriage to my child. What is the process for these types of child care providers?

A: If the child care provider you selected is not related to the child either by blood or marriage then they are considered a Trustline Provider. A Trustline provider will need to be finger printed and have a background check done. A Trustline provider is only eligible for payment once he/she is cleared and placed on the Trustline Registry.

If the provider’s background clearance is denied, revoked, or closed, the provider will be denied and will not be eligible to receive child care payment.

Q: How does/When will my child care provider get paid?

A: Once a case is authorized, the participant and child care provider will receive a notice informing them of the outcome of the case. The notice to the child care provider will include a Provider Payment Request (PPR) form. The parent and child care provider need to complete and submit this form to Pathways in order to request payment.

Child care payment will be processed 10 business days upon receiving a complete and accurate Provider Payment Request (PPR) form. Incomplete forms will result in the return of the Provider Payment Request which will delay the provider’s reimbursement. If the parent is approved on a variable schedule, the PPR is not considered complete until the Variable schedule (ST1-22) is submitted. It is best to submit both forms together to avoid payment delays.

Q: What is a Variable Schedule?

A: A variable schedule form is used to report in and out times for an activity that is not on a set schedule. The form must be signed by the participant’s on-site supervisor verifying the days/hours of the activity. This form must be submitted on a monthly basis while the activity remains on a variable basis.

Q: What is a Family Fee?

A: The household income is assessed in order to determine if a participant is eligible. Families with a gross income of more than 50 percent of the State Median Income who are NOT receiving CalWORKs Stage 1 Child Care may be determined responsible for a portion of the provider’s payment. The Family Fee is based on the fee schedule table established by the State of California. The Family Fee is deducted from the child care provider’s payment. The parent is then responsible to reimburse the child care provider directly.

Q: How long can Pathways assist me with child care for CalWorks Stage 1?

A: If you continue to meet the eligibility requirements, you may be eligible to receive child care services until the child turns 13 yrs old, or 13 yrs + if your child has special needs, or until the county determines that the family’s situation and child care need have become stable, once determined stable the case will be transferred to Stage 2.

Questions for our California Department of Education (CDE) Programs

Q: I am approved on a variable schedule basis. What does that mean?

A: Parents who are working or attending their approved activity on a variable schedule will be approved for total hours based on the average amount of need hours in the previous 3 months. Parents who are working must submit a full month of paystub every three months in order to extend the employment activity for another 3 months. A request for the paystubs will be issued 30 days prior to the approval ending.

Q: What are the approved child care hours?

A: A notice of action indicating the approved child care hours will be sent to you and your child care provider upon the initial enrollment or whenever there is a change. It is important that you read the “comments” on the notice for the exact approved child care hours. If you use hours that are outside the approved hours, Pathways does not assume responsibility for reimbursement of those hours.

Q: I need help finding a child care provider, how can you help me?

A: Find Child Care or contact our Resource and Referral Department

Q: Can a family member or friend be my child care provider even if they don’t have a child care license?

A: Yes, you may use a non-licensed child care provider to care for your children. Please note that the person of your choice may need to get fingerprinted and may be required to submit tuberculosis test results. Please contact a Program Specialist for additional information.

Q: Will Pathways reimburse all of my child care costs?

A: Your child care hours will be approved based on your documented need for care. Pathways provides subsidized child care up to the maximum cost reimbursement allowed by the State of California. If your child care provider has rates that are above that maximum, you will be required to directly pay them the additional costs, this is called a co-payment.

In addition, depending on your family size and income, you may be required to pay a monthly family fee. The family fees will be deducted directly from the provider’s payment. The amount will be indicated on the monthly attendance sheets. Families with a certified need of 130 hours or more per month will be assessed monthly full time fee and the families with a certified need of less than 130 hours per month will be assessed a monthly part time fee. Pathways will not recalculate fees based on a child’s actual attendance.

Q: Can I choose more than one child care provider for the same child?

A: You can only select multiple providers for the same child if the hours of operation of the primary child care provider cannot accommodate your child care needs. For example, your provider is only open Monday through Friday but you work on Saturdays. You can choose a second provider to provide care on Saturdays only.