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Centralized Eligibility List

Families who need help paying for child care are encouraged to fill out an online application to be placed on the Centralized Eligibility List (CEL) for subsidized child care.

 

For detailed information about the CEL and how to apply, click on the questions below to display the information on how to begin the CEL process.

 

For technical assistance with your CEL application, please contact:

Maria Gutierrez 415.491.5704 or via email at maria@mc3.org

Qualifying Family Size and Income Level:

  • Family Size of 1 and/or 2, income limit up to: $6,128

  • Family Size of 3, income limit up to:  $6,931

  • Family Size of 4, income limit up to:  $8,025

  • Family Size of 5, income limit up to: $9,309

  • Family Size of 6, income limit up to: $10,593​

CEL Brochure (English and Spanish)

Download Brochure

(includes income guidelines)

Apply for the CEL (English)

Online Form

Download Application

Aplicar para la CEL (Español)

Formulario Online

Bajar la Solicitud

*Applying for the CEL does not guarantee subsidized childcare services. Enrollment is based on the availability of spaces, selection by the child care program, current and accurate family information, and timely response by the family who is notified of an opening.*

You can apply for the CEL online or you print and complete the application by clicking on the link above and sending it to the address listed on the application.

If you have a question about the CEL or need to update your application, you can contact the CEL Administrator at 415.491.5704

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  • What is the Centralized Eligibility List (CEL)?
    The CEL is a single, county-wide list of all children from income eligible families who are waiting for subsidized childcare. Agencies offering state-funded subsidized childcare identify families in need from the CEL. The CEL is not a wait list. The CEL is an eligibility list. An eligibility list determines which families should be served first when a space becomes available. The CEL is based on factors determined by the State and includes: income, family size, and other needs. The CEL is not administered on a first-come, first-served basis - the amount of time that a family has been waiting does not determine who will be served first. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will receive assistance through a subsidized child care program. Referrals are only made when funding becomes available or when there is an opening in a subsidized child care program. The wait varies. Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to give you an approximate time. Referrals are only made when funding becomes available or when there is an opening in a subsidized childcare program. Selections start with the lowest rank (one) and continue until the funding runs out or the spaces become filled. There currently is not enough funding to help pay for childcare for every low-income family that needs it.
  • What is subsidized child care and am I eligible to receive a subsidy?
    Subsidized means "paid for" (in part or in whole) or "financially supported." In this case, the California Department of Education contracts with local agencies to help income eligible families pay for childcare, depending on the family's need. To be eligible for the CEL you have to meet income limits based on your family size (see income guidelines). The California Department of Education, Child Development Division, establishes a ranking scale. Second, you must have a need for childcare such as; employment, school or training, an incapacity that makes you unable to care for your child for part of the day, or a referral from Child Protective Services (CPS) that childcare is a necessary component of the child protective services plan. A CEL application needs to be submitted. Once in, your family will be ranked based on your income and family size. This ranking will determine if and how soon you will be contacted for possible funding when funding becomes available or space opens in a subsidized childcare program. You will receive a letter stating you have been placed on the CEL and when a subsidized program has an opening they will start calling families for a preliminary screening, starting with the lowest rank and moving up the list from there. The ranks range from 1-66 and there are many families within each rank. You do not automatically receive subsidized childcare by submitting an application. Countable income includes: wages/salaries, profit from self-employment, child support, spousal support, cash aid (TANF or CalWORKS), Worker's Compensation, Unemployment, Disability Insurance payments, pensions or annuities, veteran's benefits.
  • How do I apply for the CEL?
    Apply for the Centralized Eligibility List (CEL) has never been easier. The system allows low-income families to apply for assistance to pay for all or part of their child care needs. One application will place families on the CEL and the information will be available to participating subsidized child care and education programs in Marin County. Parents do not need to visit or call each program to be added to their eligibility list. What information do I need to provide? If your child currently has an open Child Protective Services (CPS) case, you must provide a letter from the county welfare department or the San Francisco Human Services Agency (HSA) case manager on HSA letterhead. If your child has an At Risk referral, you must have a letter from a legally qualified professional. If your child has exceptional needs, you must provide a copy of the child’s IEP (Individualized Education Plan) or IFSP (Individualized Family Service Plan). Gross (before taxes) monthly income will be verified at time of potential enrollment* *Applying for the CEL does not guarantee subsidized child care services. Enrollment is based on availability of spaces, selection by the child care program, current and accurate family information, and timely response by the family who is notified of an opening.* You can apply for the CEL online or you print and complete the application by clicking on the link above and send it to the address listed on the application. If you have a question about the CEL, or need to update your application, you can contact the CEL Administrator at 415.491.5704
  • Are foster children given priority?
    Yes, through the Emergency Foster Care Bridge Program. Contact your Social Worker for referral.
  • If my information changes should I fill out another application?
    No. It is not necessary to fill out another application, but please call us immediately with any changes such as: family size, income, address, telephone number, etc.. If you fail to update your information when updates are mailed, your family will be dropped from the CEL. You may reach the CEL Administrator at 415.491.5704 to report changes.
  • How can I help ensure more families receive child care funding?​
    PARENT VOICES, a parent led, parent run grassroots organization fighting to make quality childcare affordable and accessible to all families. For more information, please check out the link: https://www.parentvoices.org/
  • CEL Participating Programs
    Participating State-Funded Programs State Funded Preschool at Pickleweed Children's Center P.O. Box 151560 San Rafael, CA 94915 415.485.3386 Community Action Marin Administration 555 Northgate Dr., Suite 201 San Rafael, CA 94903 415.526.7500 Fairfax San Anselmo Children's Center 199 Porteous Ave. Fairfax, CA 94930 415.454.1811 Marin Child Care Council Alternative Payment Program 555 Northgate Drive Suite 105 San Rafael, CA 94903 415.472.1092 North Bay Children's Center 932 C Street Novato, CA 94949 415.883.6222 North Marin Community Center 680 Wilson Ave. Novato, CA 94947 415.892.1643 Preschool at College of Marin Indian Valley Campus 1800 Ignacio Blvd. Novato, CA 94949 415.457.8811

Help Paying For Child Care

Paying for child care can be difficult. Need help paying for child care? If you do, you’re looking for "subsidized" child care. There are a variety of childcare programs in Marin County to help low-income parents. It’s important for you to start early to find a subsidized program for your child because there are more families who need help than there is money to pay for it. 
 
Marin Child Care Council offers different subsidized child care programs to help pay, fully or partially, for the cost of child care. To be able to benefit from these programs, parents must meet specific requirements depending on each program.​

CalWorks Stage 1 & 2

  • Are you a current CalWORKs cash grant recipient or have you received the grant within the last 24 months?

  • Are both you and any other adult living in the home working, seeking employment, or enrolled in a vocational training program?

  • Does your family's monthly income fall within these amounts?

      If your answer is YES, you may be eligible for child care service. 

  • Family Size of 1 and/or 2, income limit up to: $6,128

  • Family Size of 3, income limit up to:  $6,931

  • Family Size of 4, income limit up to:  $8,025

  • Family Size of 5, income limit up to: $9,309

  • Family Size of 6, income limit up to: $10,593​

To find out if you are eligible for CalWORKs call 1.877.410.8817

 

Once the CalWORKs families are no longer receiving Cash Aid for themselves, they are transferred to a Stage 2 CalWORKs program. Parents remain in Stage 2 until 24 months after they last received Cash Aid. At that point, they are transferred to a Stage 3 program. This is a closed process and only parents on CalWORKs are eligible for any of these programs.

 

These programs serve parents receiving cash aid (TANF). Parents who have worked their way off cash aid but are still low-income are also eligible. They are funded by both the state and federal government. New CalWORKs Cash Aid recipients go through a CalWORKs orientation. During the first few months after they attend this orientation, the child care (chosen by the parent) is paid for by a Stage 1 CalWORKs program.

Non- CalWORKs Programs

If your answer is NO to any of the above questions you may be eligible for services by completing an application on the Centralized Eligibility List (CEL), which is your first step to becoming eligible for other subsidized child care programs.

APPLY FOR THE CEL

Alternative Payment Program

Along with housing, childcare is often the largest monthly expense for families. Marin Child Care Council offers a variety of childcare financial assistance programs for families who qualify based on income or family needs.  Families may be eligible regardless of immigration status.

Families admitted to Alternative Payment Programs funded by the California Department of Education must meet income requirements and have a need for child care.

 

Need is defined as:

  • Employment that precludes the supervision of children.

  • Seeking employment, up to 60 working days per fiscal year, per parent, for 29 hours or less per week.

  • Vocational training leading to a recognized trade, paraprofessional or profession with a maximum of 6 years of service or 24 units beyond a bachelor's degree.

  • Homeless and seeking housing

  • Incapacitated as verified by a legally qualified professional. May receive a maximum of 50 hours per week.

  • CWS and/or Child At-Risk as verified by a legally qualified professional.

 

To be eligible, the family’s gross monthly income can not exceed the 85% of the State Median Income.

We encourage all families to speak to a counselor who can understand your circumstances and help determine which programs are best matched to your family’s needs.

Subsidy Program Forms

You can reach our child care experts in-person, by phone or via email. Counselors are available Monday through Friday, hours depend on their work schedule.

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