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Sacramento County Childcare Eligibility List (CEL)

Child Action, Inc. maintains a list of families who are eligible for subsidized child care programs in Sacramento County, called the "Childcare Eligibility List" (or CEL). By signing up on the CEL, participating child care programs that meet your specified needs can access your information when they have openings in their programs.

Through the CEL, you can gain access to multiple subsidized child care programs in the county, and improve your chances of obtaining child care at locations of your choice that offer free or low-cost child care.

How Do I Apply for Help?
Online: If you have access to a computer, you can submit an application through our website, If you fill out the application online, you will be able to update your own information using your log-in and password.

Call Us: Give us a call at (916) 369-0191 and speak with a Child Action, Inc. representative, who will assist you with determining your eligibility and filling out the CEL application over the phone.

What is Subsidized Child Care?
Subsidized child care is assistance to low-income families to cover all or part of their child care costs.

If you are working, enrolled in school, or participating in an approved welfare-to-work training plan, you may be eligible for financial assistance with your child care costs. There are a wide variety of programs that provide subsidized child care services for eligible families, including programs operating under Head Start, Title V, and FCCHEN. To search subsidized programs in Sacramento, click here.

Subsidized child care includes full-day child care and development programs, part-day educational enrichment programs, and programs that pay for care provided by family, friends or neighbors. Programs are operated by school districts, community-based organizations or local government. Call Child Action, Inc. at (916) 369-0191 for a list of participating programs or visit our website,

How Do I Know If I Am Eligible?

  • Your children meet State age eligibility limits (unless they meet qualifying criteria)
  • You are working, in a training program or going to school or have a reason why you cannot care for your own children
  • Your family income meets eligibility requirements
  • You want your 3-5 year-old child to attend a state preschool

How Long Will I Have to Wait Before I Receive Help?
There are thousands of eligible families on the CEL, so we cannot guarantee that you will receive financial assistance. However, the first step in receiving help paying for child care is to submit an application. After you submit your application it is important to keep your information up-to-date. If your address, phone number, income, or family size changes it may affect your eligibility. You can update your information via our website ( or call Child Action, Inc. at (916) 369-0191 to update your information over the phone.

Speaking Up for Child Care
The most effective way to make sure that there is adequate child care assistance for families is to communicate your needs to your elected officials. For information on opportunities to speak out or to receive a copy of our publication on advocacy, call Child Action, Inc. at (916) 369-0191 and ask for Handout #9: Speaking Up For Children.