The San Mateo County Child Care Subsidy Program was created to permit limited local flexibility to meet local needs of families and subsidized child care programs in our high-cost county. The project was conceived as a means to explore solutions to the problems that the state's “one-size-fits-all” child care subsidy system presents to high-cost counties such as San Mateo. The San Mateo pilot was designed to address two fundamental concerns:
- families barely earn enough to meet the high costs of housing in the county but are nevertheless considered too high income to qualify for child care subsidies; and
- the state reimbursement rates paid to providers were so low that they could not cover their costs, and therefore were unable to utilize their full allocation of state and federal child care development funds. As a result, fewer children were subsidized through these contracts and child care spaces were lost to the county.