What Is Child Care Assistance?
Child Care Assistance is a state-administered program available to the children of low-income parents who are absent for a portion of the day due to employment, vocational training, or education. It is also available for a limited period of time to the children of parents seeking employment – this program pays for up to 240 hours of child care per year so that the child’s caregivers can look for work.
When applying for Child Care Assistance, you need to fill out a Child Care Assistance Application. It usually asks questions about your income and expenses, your current employer and school, your children and their needs.
Child Care Assistance Application Forms by State
Child Care Assistance Application forms vary from state to state, so you need to find out whether your state accepts completed applications by mail (Minnesota, Louisiana) or requires each applicant to visit a local human services office to apply (Texas, New York).
|Alabama||Hawaii||Massachusetts (call Mass 211 to apply)||New Mexico||South Dakota|
|Arizona||Illinois||Minnesota||North Carolina (contact your County Child Care Contact)||Texas (apply at a Workforce Solutions Office)|
|California (apply via child care R&R agency)||Iowa||Missouri||Ohio||Vermont|
|Connecticut||Kentucky||Nebraska (contact ACCESSNebraska at (800) 383-4278)||Oregon||Washington|
|Florida||Maine||New Hampshire||Rhode Island||Wisconsin|
|Georgia||Maryland||New Jersey||South Carolina||Wyoming|
If you already receive assistance, you will have to fill out a Child Care Redetermination Form to be found eligible again y.
How to Get Child Care Assistance?
These are the general eligibility requirements for the family to qualify for Child Care Financial Assistance:
- Income requirement – different in each state and based on family size and gross income;
- Caregivers of the child work a minimum amount of hours (20-40) per week at a minimum wage, seek employment, attend classes or school;
- Parents cooperate with the human services office to enforce child support for all the children in the family;
- You have a child care provider – a licensed child care center, child development home, or an individual who cares for your children in your own residence. It is possible to choose a relative or neighbor – as long as this person is approved by the human services office in order to receive payments from the Child Care Assistance program;
- You pay a certain amount of fee each month – some families with very low incomes are exempt from paying while others pay between $10 and several hundred dollars monthly.
What Do I Do if I Can't Afford Child Care Assistance?
If you cannot afford to pay for the cost of child care, you need to find alternative options – see them below:
- Apply for Head Start and Early Head Start programs - they provide child care and development services to children from birth to age five if they come from low-income families;
- Consider obtaining military assistance or obtaining a military family discount from your child care provider;
- Find a nanny share or a childcare co-op – a nanny or a group of parents who watch kids of several families together;
- Qualify for Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit by completing IRS Form 2441 and receive credit in the form of a percentage of what you have already paid for child care.