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Finding Help to Pay for Child Care or Preschool

Financial assistance to pay for child care or preschool programs may be available to your family, though there is not sufficient State or Federal funding to help all low-income families who need it. (Note that a free Preschool for All program has begun for 4-year-olds from Redwood City families of all incomes.) Subsidies are available either through:

  1. Child care/preschool centers or family child care homes that have subsidized spaces, or
  2. Voucher-type (“Alternative Payment”) subsidies which parents can use in the child care program of their choice.

Both types of programs must use the same income-eligibility guidelines and sliding fee schedule, as determined by the California Department of Education (except for Head Start). The maximum household income level is approximately $38,000 per year for a family of 4 (lower for Head Start).

State-funded Centers
To find names of State-funded centers (full-day or part-day) for children of low-income families, look for programs indicated with ** on the lists of Redwood City programs:

Call each program to check for openings and get on an eligibility list. The Redwood City School District’s Child Development Centers operate programs for children 3 years to 1st grade at some school sites (included on the lists); call the main number to ask about those: 568-3820.

Alternative Payment/Voucher Programs
Programs of this type are administered through:

  • Child Care Coordinating Council of San Mateo County, Inc.(4C): 655-6777
  • Professional Association of Childhood Educators (PACE): 800-541-9922.

Call each program to determine your eligibility and get on the list.

In addition, CalWORKS (welfare) recipients or those who were recently on welfare are eligible for child care assistance for a period of time. Contact the CalWORKS Redwood City office at 363-4294, or the 4C CalWORKS child care line at 800-944-2273.


Types of Subsidized Child Care/Preschool Centers

in Redwood City

State Preschool is a half-day preschool enrichment program, for 3- and 4-year old children, to prepare them for school. Parents do not need to be working to qualify, but must be low-income.

  • Redwood City School District offers State Preschool classes at a number of elementary school sites; call 568-3820 for information.
  • Community Education Center offers bilingual State Preschool classes at Taft and Hoover Schools (780-7517).

Head Start is a similar program for very low-income families, funded by the Federal government. Early Head Start serves children under 3 years. Additional health and social services and parent education for families are provided. Fair Oaks Head Start serves the Redwood City community: 368-2698.

'General Child Care'
Full-day child development programs are available for low-income families who must work, or attend school or job training. Programs may serve any age groups from birth to 12 years. In Redwood City, the following programs have these funds:

  • Redwood City Child Development Program (12 months to 5 years): 780-7520
  • Plaza Child Development Center(Family Service Agency, 2.5-5 yrs): 369-0527
  • Redwood City School District’s Child Development Centers (preschool and/or afterschool care for Kindergarten & 1st graders at various schools): 568-3820
  • Child Development Incorporated (CDI, before and after-school care for Kindergarten to 6th grade, at Henry Ford and John Gill Schools): 368-1138/364-1178.

Teen Parent (CAL-SAFE)
These programs provide child care while teen parents attend high school or community college. Family Service Agency provides the program for children birth to 2 years at Redwood High School, that serves students in the Sequoia High School District: 306-1780.

Family Child Care Networks
Family Service Agency provide subsidized care in licensed Family Child Care Homes in Redwood City and other south county cities: 403-4300.

For more information, contact the Redwood City Child Care Coordinator, Kristen Anderson at 780-7336 or


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