The Voucher Project is a child care subsidy program funded by the State Department of Education. The program is designed to financially assist families eligible families living in Santa Cruz County. Eligibility guidelines are determined by the State Department of Education and are based on family size, gross monthly income, and need. Families wishing to apply for assistance through the Voucher Project will be required to complete a Statement of Need. The Statement of Need will be used to determine eligibility for the program and need for assistance, and then the family will be placed on a waiting list.
Families wishing to apply for certification through the Voucher Project will be required to complete a Statement of Need for determining eligibility and need, and will then be placed on a waiting list. When openings occur, a family from the waiting list will be certified based on the priorities as outlined in the State guidelines, not the length of time on the waiting list. The Voucher Project staff works closely with the Child Development Resource Center (CDRC) Child Care Switchboard in an effort to assist parents (both certified and on the waiting list) in finding appropriate child care.
Families who are certified for child care payments through the Voucher Project may choose care in a licensed child care center or family day care home (or with a pre-approved licensed-exempt individual) which operates within Santa Cruz County. The rates charged for services must be within the agency's ability to pay and are also governed by the Regional Market Rate ceilings established by the State Department of Education. Under specific funding types, payment may not be possible for programs which include religious worship or instruction. The rates for Child care services must be the same as those charged to all parents regardless of whether they are private-paying or subsidized parents. As well, parents may be responsible for any difference between what the agency may be able to reimburse and what the parent contracts with the child care provider.
The Voucher Project pays the child care provider on a reimbursement basis - that is, payment is made after the month of service is complete. Depending upon the family's income and size, some parents may be required to pay a share of the cost for their child care services (family fee). The share of cost or family fee is determined by the State Department of Education is required to be paid in advance, based on a sliding scare, and made directly to the Voucher Project. Failure to pay the family fee by the agency deadline will result in termination of child care services. Some parents may also be required to pay a portion or co-payment for their child care costs if their providers rates for services are higher than the established Regional Market Rates ceilings or are above what the agency's policies allow.
The Santa Cruz County Parents Association, Voucher Project receives funding from a number of contracts. At the time of certification and Recertification, the Voucher Project staff will determine which funding source is available and the most appropriate to serve new or continuing families.