San Francisco benefits from an innovative approach to distributing state funding for early care and education. The Individualized Child Care Subsidy Programs (also known as ‘Pilots’) were conceived to explore solutions to the problems that the state’s “one-size-fits-all” child care and development subsidy system presents, especially in higher cost counties such as San Francisco.

Without any additional funds, the Pilots seek to demonstrate the effects of limited local control and flexibility in the administration of California Department of Education-Early Education and Support Division (CDE-EESD) contracted funding and stakeholder efficiency to meet the goals of increased family self-sufficiency, continuity of care for children and to stabilize a fragile early care and education infrastructure.

The San Francisco Pilot (SF Pilot) was established in 2005 to meet the key goals of ensuring stable enrollment and reducing unearned contract dollars across the City and County of San Francisco. The SF Pilot is a no-cost option to the state that allows San Francisco to shore up the fiscally challenged subsidized early care and education delivery system. The only resources for the SF Pilot are County allocated unearned and recaptured funds from existing contracts and the collection of family fees. Unearned funding from contractors can be transferred on a temporary and permanent basis to other contractors within San Francisco, who can then utilize it to serve those children most eligible for subsidies.

Other Pilot counties are San Mateo, Alameda and Santa Clara. Some of the elements of the Pilots include:

  • Subsidized families in Pilot counties can earn higher incomes and still remain eligible for services
  • Pilot counties have a range of higher daily Standard Reimbursement Rates
  • EESD contracts in Pilot counties can be renegotiated and funds transferred between contractors to maximize the use of contracted funds across the county
  • Pilot families above the state income threshold pay higher family fees

If you are interested in learning more about the San Francisco Pilot you can find a Project Brief below:

San Francisco County Individualized Child Care Subsidy Pilot Project Brief

Family eligibility and need requirements look different in Pilot counties. Please see links below to access the SF Pilot Handbook and enrollment and eligibility forms used by participating Title 5 agencies.

SF Pilot Handbook
SF Pilot Family Income Ceilings

Enrollment and Eligibility Forms

Employment Verification: English, Spanish
Parent Incapacity: English, Spanish
School or Training Verification: English, Spanish
Seeking Employment Plan: English, Spanish
Seeking Permanent Housing: English, Spanish
Self Declaration of Income: English, Spanish
Self Employment Verification: English, Spanish
Self Declaration of Homelessness: English, Spanish
Program Participation Agreement: English, Spanish
Contract Hours Worksheet
CPS At-Risk Referral
Update Addendum