AB212 SD CARES (Comprehensive Approaches to Raising Education Standards) is a stipend award program for childcare providers working in a California Department of Education, Early Learning and Care Division (CDE/ELCD) funded child care centers or ELCD funded Family Child Care Home Education Networks (FCCHEN).

SD CARES was created in 2000 and is currently funded by the California Department of Education, Early Education, and Support Division.

Application Forms

Stipend Payment Forms

Requirements for Participation

  • The deadline to submit an application to participate in Year 19 of SD CARES  is September 30, 2019.
  • Work in a CDE/ELCD funded childcare center or provide care through a CDE/ELCD funded Family Child Care Home Education Network (FCCHEN).
  • Work a minimum of 15 hours per week with children under the age of 13.
  • Have your application signed by your center director or submit a letter from a representative from the FCCEN.
  • Work an additional 9 months and complete Option I or II of the program requirements to earn a stipend.
  • Obtain a Child Development Permit.


Frequently Asked Questions

Program Requirement Questions


  • Where can I get help completing my application packet? Call CARES 1.866.CARES SD (1.866.227.3773), email [email protected], or make an appointment to meet with an SD CARES Quality Support Specialist.
  • Do I receive the stipend once my entry requirements are satisfied? To receive a stipend, you need to satisfy all program requirements by continuing to work in the same child care program for nine (9) additional months and completing additional college coursework for Option I towards your SD CARES approved degree or higher level permit or complete 21 hours of professional development training activities towards renewing your permit.
  • I am a Family Child Care Provider. Can I participate in SD CARES? If you are a family child care provider participating in a CDE/ELCD funded Family Child Care Home Education Network (FCCHEN), you are eligible to participate. You will need to have your application signed by the representative from your FCCHEN program and a letter stating that you are an independent contractor in their FCCHEN program. When you become eligible to earn a stipend your Employment Verification Form you will also need to submit a letter from the FCCHEN representative and a Client Enrollment Form providing contact information from three of your clients in your program.
  • What if I quit my job before my nine months are completed? If you are in at least your second year of SD CARES and move to another CDE/ELCD funded center, you are still able to participate and earn a stipend. If you change to a center that is not funded by CDE/ELCD, you will no longer be eligible to participate.
  • Which college courses count towards my stipend? All participants are required to obtain a plan from their college detailing which courses are required to earn their degree. This plan must include 24 units of Child Development unless previously completed. SD CARES stipends are paid based on semester units. If you are attending a college that uses quarter units, those units will be calculated to semester units and you will be paid accordingly.
  • Can I complete units and professional development training activities and receive a stipend for both? You can only receive a stipend for completing one of the options, either units or professional development training activities. You cannot receive a stipend for completing both options. 
  • What if I do not complete all 21 hours of professional development training activities by the end of the program year? In order to earn the professional development stipend, you must complete a total of 21 hours within the program year. Professional development hours will not roll over to the next program year and participants will not receive partial credit or payments. 
  • How would I know if the professional development training activities are approved for an SD CARES stipend? All trainings and professional development sessions offered by the San Diego County Office of Education Early Education Program and services are eligible for the SD CARES Professional Development stipend. Access the training schedule here. Only specified trainings offered by YMCA Childcare Resource Service will be eligible for the Professional Development Stipend. You can access the training calendar here and look for trainings that are identified as “SD CARES Approved”. 


Child Development Permit Questions

  • Why should I get a Child Development Permit? The Child Development Permit is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your education and expertise to yourself and others. In order to receive a stipend, participants must submit a copy of their permit or proof of application.
  • Where can I obtain a Child Development Permit Application? Permits are available online, log onto www.childdevelopment.org  to download a current Child Development Permit Application.
  • In addition to the Permit Application, what else will I need to get my Permit? You will need a receipt of a current Live Scan with ORI #A0281 as well as your official transcripts. Family Child Care Providers will need a copy of their state license.
  • I already had a Live Scan done for my job. Do I need to get another one? Yes, even though you already had a Live Scan, the fingerprints are not shared between agencies, so you need to repeat the process for your Permit. You will need to get a Live Scan with the ORI # A0281. The Child Development Training Consortium will reimburse part or all of the cost of fingerprinting when you fill out the Application for Reimbursement of Live Scan Fingerprint Processing Fees Form provided in your permit application packet and attach your receipt. Before going to a Live Scan location, make sure to make an appointment and confirm the cost and method of payment. Reimbursement is on a first come, first served basis as funding is limited.
  • How long will it take to receive my Permit? This process can take from six weeks to nine months or longer. After the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing receives your application, you will receive a letter via email and you will be able to view your status by logging onto www.ctc.ca.gov.
  • Do I need to see a college counselor to get my Permit? If you have questions about filling out the application, or the process itself speak with a Child Development Instructor. They are familiar with this process and will be able to provide you with guidance.
  • I am interested in obtaining a Master Teacher Permit. However, I need a specialization. How do I choose this? Your specialization can be almost any subject you choose. To pick a specialization, you must choose a total of six units that relate to each other. Infant Toddler Curriculum and Infant Toddler Development are often paired together for an Infant/Toddler specialization. Note that these six units of specialization are in addition to the base requirements for Master Teacher. You are required to take 24 units ECE/ including the core courses, 16 GE, 2 Adult Supervision, and the 6 units for a specialization.
  • How do I know that the college I am attending is accredited? There are several agencies that accredit colleges. If your college has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), you can be certain that your college meets accreditation standards for transfer and for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Carefully explore all other accrediting agencies. Contact the Commission for more information: www.ctc.ca.gov.
  • I have been planning my career and I only want to teach. Why should I continue to progress up the matrix if I never want to be a Site Supervisor or Program Director? Just because you obtain a certain permit level does not mean that you can only perform that job level. However, by working toward the highest level permit, you will be opening yourself to future job possibilities.
  • I am only one class away from the next highest Permit level. Should I wait until I am done with that class, and then apply? Because SD CARES requires participants to obtain a Permit to receive a stipend, it is recommended to apply now. Also, the Permit upgrade process is considerably easier than your first-time application.
  • What do I need to submit to SD CARES?  Submit a copy of your permit or the receipt of application. If you are submitting your receipt, please send in a copy of the actual permit to SD CARES as soon as you receive it.