This report summarizes recent child care information for the state of California. The first section provides new information on child care subsidies, based on eligibility estimates generated by the Urban Institute and state administrative data reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The second two parts, on affordability and supply, draw on state and local data collected by the Urban Institute during the summer of 1999 under contract with HHS. A companion document to the national report entitled "Access to Child Care for Low-Income Working Families," the California report is one in a series of nine state reports. [The other reports are: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah]
II. Affordability 
- Prices for child care vary considerably, by such factors as geographic area, type of provider and age of child. Figure 2 shows the average monthly prices for child care in California. Given that these are average prices, it is clear that many families pay more or less than this amount.
- Centers in California charge an average of $420 per month for preschool care and $577 per month for infant care, as shown in Figure 2. This means that a family with $15,000 in income and one preschool child in an average-priced center would spend more than one-third (34 percent) of its total monthly income on child care expenses. Average-priced infant care would represent an even higher share (46 percent) of monthly income for a family earning $15,000.
- Family child care homes in California charge an average of $422 per month for preschool children and $432 per month for infants. This means that a family with $15,000 in income and one child in an average-priced family child care home would spend 34 percent of its monthly income on care for a preschool child or 35 percent for an infant.
- Families who receive child care subsidies usually pay much smaller monthly co-payments, rather than the full market rate. Such co-payments are established under a sliding fee schedule, and are based on family size, income and the number of children in care. For example, a family with $15,000 in income and one preschooler or infant in an average-priced center in California would be charged a monthly co-payment of $43, or about three percent of monthly income, as shown in Figure 2.
III. Gaps in Child Care Supply 
- The adequacy of the supply of child care varies across California. To determine the level of unmet need, the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network uses a combination of census data and child care supply data from local resource and referral networks. Licensed child care supply meets only 21 percent of the estimated need for licensed care for children of all ages. Supply gaps vary throughout the state. For example, in Alpine County, licensed child care meets 78 percent of the need for all children; in Los Angeles County, supply meets only 17 percent of the need.
- Throughout the state of California, infant care is in short supply. For example, in Los Angeles County, San Diego County, San Francisco County, and Siskiyou County less than 5 percent of slots in licensed care centers are infant slots.
- Only 4 percent of all of the licensed and license-exempt centers, and only 33 percent of the licensed family child care homes listed with the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network provide care during odd hours, such as weekends, evenings or over night.
1 Estimate based on microsimulations using the Urban Institute's TRIM3 model, guidelines in the state's 1997-99 CCDF state plan, and three years of Current Population Survey data (calendar years 1995-97).
3 Estimates based on state administrative data reported to the Child Care Bureau and adjusted to reflect children funded through CCDF only. 1998 figures based on April-September 1998.
4 Waiting list data were obtained and compiled by the Urban Institute from the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network (a statewide child care resource and referral agency).
5 Information in this section was obtained and compiled by the Urban Institute from the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network (a statewide child care resource and referral agency).
6 Information in this section was obtained and compiled by the Urban Institute from the 1999 California Child Care Portfolio, California Child Care Resource and Referral Network.