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(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) – The County of Santa Barbara, through the First 5 Santa Barbara County Children and Families Commission, announced the publication of a request for qualifications (RFQ) for childcare sector pandemic recovery and resiliency. Funds  from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) aim to improve the state of childcare for infants and toddlers in our county.

Currently, Santa Barbara County has 9,767 licensed daycare spots for infants and toddlers, but according to the Santa Barbara Child Care Planning Council, more than 16,700 children under age two live in the county as of 2018. Expanded childcare for young children is urgent, and meeting the needs of families and young children is essential for economic recovery and resilience in Santa Barbara County.

“Parents and families of very young children in our county are truly in need of high-quality infant and toddler childcare. Without enough childcare, many parents can’t work. Our local economy and the well-being of our families depends on affordable, accessible childcare,” said Michelle Robertson, Assistant Director of First 5 Santa Barbara County. “Directing ARPA funding into this area is an opportunity to address a gap that existed pre-COVID. It’s also a chance to align with the California plan to support children and families from birth through age five.”

About the RFQ

The contract(s) for services will be awarded to one or more organizations, with a focus on four areas:

  • Infant/Toddler Childcare Workforce: Help infant and childcare workers develop skills.
  • Infant/Toddler Childcare Classroom Start-up and Expansion: Award classroom start-up and expansion grants and provide business support for sustainability.
  • Infant/Toddler Facility Planning: Identify the county’s infant and toddler facilities, and provide operators with technical assistance.
  • Preparing for Childcare during Emergency Responses: Develop a plan to provide childcare for children of first responders and essential workers during emergencies and disaster responses.

The target service area covers all parts of Santa Barbara County. When awarded, the term of the contract will be January 1, 2023, through June 30, 2025.

To read the RFQ and submit qualifications, please visit

Important Dates

Bidders’ Conference

Informational meeting held on Zoom

Monday, August 29, 2022

9:30 to 11:00 a.m.

Link to join the meeting:

Meeting ID: 840 4028 6666

Passcode: 441401

Deadline for RFQ Submissions

To be considered, RFQs must be submitted on time and through the RFP 360 system

Friday, October 7, 2022

5:00 p.m.

Link to RFQ on RFP

About First 5 Santa Barbara County

At First 5 Santa Barbara County, our mission is to mobilize and integrate our communities to prepare children to thrive in kindergarten and life. To learn more about First 5 Santa Barbara County, please visit or follow us on social media, where you’ll find us on Facebook @F5SBCInstagram @First5SBC, and Twitter @First5SBC.

Credit: Courtesy


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