In 1974 a small child development center for 24 children opened at a church in the Otay Mesa area of San Diego. Wanting to do more to help families that could not afford a quality preschool program for their children, the center applied for and received its first grant in 1978 - a contract for $100,000 per year from the California Department of Education. In 1980, when additional funding became available, a second grant was received to increase the enrollment at the center, and to add a Family Child Care Program.
Throughout the years CDA has operated a variety of child care and development programs serving infants through school age in centers, family child care homes, and elementary schools, primarily located in the South Bay area of San Diego County. In 1984 CDA became a sponsor of the Child Care Food Program for family child care providers and in 1992 CDA added the Alternative Payment Program. In 2012 CDA moved into offices at the current location, 180 Otay Lakes Road in Bonita.
In every endeavor, providing high quality programs and support for families and providers has always been a CDA priority. Since 1978 CDA has increased its funding from $100,000 to over $44 million in funding and today provides services to families and providers in six Southern California counties.
Sadly, CDA loses its founder in the first half of 2011.