Paying For Care

A new study shows that working families often find the price of child care beyond their financial reach. Parents are relying more and more on family and friends to help them link child care arrangements together.

In Contra Costa County, the cost of child care may vary widely based on the type of care and the age of the child. The average cost of care for each child in a family child care home is $175 to $200 per week. In a child care center, the average cost for each child is $250 per week for infants, $200 per week for preschoolers and $125 per week for school-age children.

Availability of Subsidized Child Care

Help paying for child care is available to those families that qualify. Access to this service is provided through the Child Care Eligibility List (CCEL), a centralized eligibility list designed to simplify the application process for parents seeking subsidized child care. Through the Child Care Eligibility List a parent can apply for every state-subsidized child care program in Contra Costa County with one, easy application. Please see Child Care Eligibility List (CCEL) for additional information.

Child Care programs that serve these families are required to only help parents who are registered on the CCEL. That is, all new families entering the programs (with the exception of families receiving welfare assistance), are enrolled from the CCEL.

Some private child care programs also offer discounts. These may include:

  • Serving siblings at a reduced rate
  • Offering free or low-cost care for their own employees
  • Providing scholarships for “low income” and/or single parents


Ask if the rates are “negotiable,” or if a center can help with a sliding fee, which would raise your tuition only as your income increases.

Keep in mind that some parents are finding that almost 50% of their pay checks are going to pay for child care, and working parents are finding it increasingly difficult to shoulder the true cost of care.

Additional resources are listed under Alternate Resources.