State Childcare Programs
If you need financial assistance with child care while going through school, your state has programs in place to help you. The list below highlights child care assistance programs by state so you know where to turn.
The Childcare Resources' Supplemental Child Care Program (SCCP) helps parents in Blount, Jefferson, Shelby and Walker Counties. The program was established in 1984. SCCP provides financial assistance for working parents with children five years old or younger. At least one parent must be working at least 35 hours a week, and the household must fall within a state-regulated Annual Income Eligibility Scale. Parents who are receiving assistance from DHR are not eligible.
In Alaska, the Child Care Assistance Program is known as Parents Achieving Self Sufficiency, or PASS. There are three different stages of PASS, and each one offers a different level of assistance. To qualify for PASS II or PASS III, parents must work, go to school, be enrolled in job training, or be in search of a new job. Parents may receive free or low cost child care through the state of Alaska until their children are 13 years of age, or until their children are 19 if they are disabled. Eligibility for PASS is evaluated based on family size and the gross income for the household.
The Arizona Department of Economic Security provides financial assistance for low income families in need of child care. DES Child Care is specifically designed to help families that are actively looking for work or pursuing an education. To qualify for the program, parents must meet one of the following requirements: have a job, participate in the DES Jobs Program, be enrolled in an eligible education program, have residency in a homeless or family crisis shelter, or have physical and mental conditions that make it difficult to properly care for a child. There is a limited amount of funding available for DES Child Care, so many parents go on a waiting list before receiving aid. Early application is crucial for getting help.
Child Care Assistance is a program in Arkansas to help low income families pay for day care services. The money that supports this program is available through the Child Care Development Fund. To qualify, a family must fit within certain income brackets, and each adult in the household must be working at least 30 hours a week if not enrolled in school full time. Parents are eligible for the program if their school classes and work time combine to be 30 hours or more. The program only serves children up to the age of 12. It is monitored by the Department of Human Services and the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education.
California has multiple child care assistance programs for low income families in the state. The California Family Child Care Network serves children until they enter kindergarten. The California Alternative Payment Program assists parents with children under 13 years of age. The California State Preschool Program offers assistance for children who are 3 to 4 years old. The California Center Based Program helps children under the age of 13 who go through the 4C Council Child Development Center. These opportunities and others like them have different requirements for parents to abide by, but they all provide affordable child care for those in need.
The Colorado Child Care Assistance Program helps families who are working, enrolled in school, searching for employment, or involved with the Colorado Works Program. It is administered under the supervision of Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Child Care. For families to qualify for this program, they must earn 130% or less than the federal poverty line, and they must fall below 85% of the state's median income. Each county sets its own requirements for eligibility, so parents must contact local authorities to apply.
In Connecticut, the Care 4 Kids program is the primary means of assistance for child care in low income families. The program is sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Social Services. With limited funds, Care 4 Kids is fairly strict about the families allowed to benefit from the assistance. There are multiple brackets a family's income may fall into, which determines how much aid they receive. Applicants must live in Connecticut and be working or going to school when they apply. The children in need of the assistance must be under the age of 13, or under the age of 19 in the case of special needs.
The Child Day Care Subsidy Program in Delaware offers assistance with child care costs for eligible low-income households. Both parents must either be working or going to school to qualify, and the family's gross income must be below 125% of the federal poverty level at the time. To apply, parents must provide proof of income or enrollment in school, as well as proof of residence. The day care receiving the funds from the assistance must be licensed with the state of Delaware.
The state of Florida does not offer any specific child care assistance programs at this time, but it does have other sources of financial assistance that may offset the costs of child care. For instance, the Florida Food Assistance Program provides funds for low income families to use for food. Florida KidCare is an affordable source of health insurance for uninsured children in the state. The Florida Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program offers help for the cost of heating and cooling a home. You can learn about these programs and more at Benefits.gov.
Low income families in Georgia may receive help through the Child and Parent Services program, better known as CAPS. This program provides assistance for children up to the age of 13, or through the 18th year for children with special needs. Families are allowed to select their own child care provider as long as it is licensed within the state. Then CAPS reimburses the provider for whatever portion of the costs the family qualifies for. Eligibility is based on income, family size, and the number of children who can receive child care subsidies. Parents must be working at least 24 hours a week or attending school 24 hours a week to receive assistance.
People Attentive to Children, better known as PATCH, is the go-to resource for child care assistance programs in Hawaii. There are several programs to apply for in the state, such as Arbor Child Care Connections, Preschool Open Doors, Pauahi Keiki Scholars, and the Keiki o Ka ‘Aina HELP Childcare Subsidy. Each program requires children to fall within a certain age range and parents to earn a certain amount of money. Almost all of them ask that the parents either work or go to school while receiving benefits. There are also programs available for military families, but eligibility varies based on the branch of military a parent is in.
The Idaho Child Care Program offers child care assistance for low-income families who work or go to school. It also helps families who participate in activities that prevent children from going into the foster care system. Most parents still have to pay a small portion of child care costs, but the co-pay is lower than the overall cost of care. The amount of co-pay each family provides is determined by the amount of time they work/go to school and the amount of money they earn. Parents may apply for the program online of through their local Health and Welfare office.
The Illinois Department of Human Services Child Care program helps parents who have limited income but still work and/or go to school. Parents who are in the states TANF program qualify for assistance if their education or employment is approved by their caseworker. This program also assists teen parents who are trying to complete their high school education. Furthermore, it provides free counseling services for parents to help them select proper child care providers in their area.
The Child Care and Development Fund is a federal program that is administered through the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration. It offers financial assistance to parents who must place their children in child care in order to work or go to school. The amount of money each family receives depends on the funding available and the general need each family has. The chosen child care provider must meet certain requirements from the state, depending on hw much assistance the family is going to receive. Families must look for the Intake Agent for their county to learn more about their options.
In Iowa, Child Care Assistance is available for parents who have low incomes and cannot care for their children due to work or school. Parents in PROMISE JOBS activities fall within the program requirements. In some cases, parents may get assistance while they are looking for employment, as long as they can prove that they have been working towards getting a job. Assistance is also available for parents if the primary caregiver is hospitalized or receiving treatment for physical or mental illness. Families in the Family Investment Program qualify for this assistance, as long as the child in need is under the age of 13.
The Child Care Subsidy Program in Kansas is designed to help select families pay for child care. There are several categories of parents who qualify for the program: teen parents completing a GED or high school diploma, families in job training for better paying work, working families with low incomes, and families who receive TANF. There are also subsidies available for military families, which varies based on the branch of military a parent is in. Military Fee Assistance is provided to families who cannot receive child care at their installation. Currently, there are programs in place for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps.
The Child Care Assistance Program in Kentucky is set up to help parents pay for child care while they gain employment. It is available for low income families with children under the age of 13 (19 for special needs children). Parents must work at least 20 hours per week or go to school 20 hours per week, unless they are involved in an internship program. Households with two parents must have a combined 40 hours of work or school time. Teen parents who are completing their high school diplomas or GEDs may qualify for the assistance as well. Co-pays are determined by the amount of work the family is doing and the amount of money the family earns at the time of application.
The Child Care Assistance Program in Louisiana assists low income families that are working or getting an education so they can find jobs in the future. Parents are allowed to select their child care providers with some guidance from the state. The amount of assistance each family receives depends on income, family size, work/school hours per week, and the cost of enrollment for the child care program. Income requirements change based on the size of the household, starting with $2,060 for two people. It goes up by $485 per person after that. Parents do not have to go through an interview to qualify for CCAP.
The Child Care Subsidy Program in Maine is also known as the Voucher Program. This program is administered through the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Parents may apply for assistance through their regional DHHS office or online. The Voucher Program requires parents to provide four weeks of current, consecutive pay stubs, as well as proof of residency in Maine, proof of child support (incoming or outgoing), proof of parent identity, and more. Each parent must speak with a CCSP Specialist to complete the application process and choose a child care provider.
The Child Care Subsidy Program in Maryland is available through the Department of Social Services. An applicant for the program must be a Maryland resident who is working or attending a public school. In some cases, applicants will need to prove that they are currently pursuing child support or that they receive Supplemental Security Income or Temporary Cash Assistance. Parents must be willing to have their children immunized according to Maryland State standards. Income requirements vary by household size, starting at a max of $24,277 a year for a family of two. That increases steadily to $51,411 for a family of 10. To apply for the program, parents must provide proof of work activity and income.
Massachusetts has several programs in place to help parents pay for child care. DTA Child Care is one of the most popular programs in the state, and it is available for former TAFDC recipients. Some parents must pay for a portion of their child care or they may be limited in the number of hours a child can spend in a DTA facility. Income-eligible Child Care is offered to parents who have not been on TAFDC for at least a year. The co-pay for this program is set on a sliding fee scale according to family size and income. Parents are allowed to select the child care provider they wish to work with.
Michigan offers a Child Development and Care Program for select families in need of financial assistance. The families must require the child care as a means of high school completion, family preservation, or active employment. Parents may apply to be a part of the program through a downloadable form that is also available at local Department of Human Services offices. The department evaluates each applicant based on work hours, educational efforts, income, family size, and more. DHS will pay up to 95% of the child care costs.
The Minnesota Child Care Assistance Program has several programs underneath it to help low income families pay for their child care. Parents on MFIP may qualify for MFIP Child Care, and they may qualify for Transition Year Child Care for the first year they are out of MFIP. Parents attending school or looking for work may apply for a Basic Sliding Fee. Child care assistance is for children under the age of 13 or under the age of 15 in the event of special needs. Most parents must pay some portion of their child care costs even after being in the program, but the prices are significantly reduced.
The Mississippi Child Care Payment Program provides parents with child care tuition assistance through federal funds. Parents may choose any type of child care they want while they are enrolled in the program. Parents must meet income and work requirements to qualify for the program. There are four levels of priority for MCCPP, with the highest being for TANF parents. Children in this program must be under the age of 13 without special needs or under the age of 19 with special needs. Most parents in this program must pay for some portion of their child care.
Child Care Services provides reimbursement for child care costs to income-eligible families. The program may also allow for direct payment to be made to the child care provider. The program is set up specifically for families who are working or going through training programs to find work. The amount of money available for the program varies by year, so some families must be put on a waiting list before they qualify. Missouri is particularly strict about child care assistance fraud, and parents who falsify information on their applications could face heavy fees or jail time. Honest parents who provide all the necessary documents though usually get the assistance they need in due time.
Montana offers the Best Beginnings Scholarship for low income families who work with licensed child care providers. The program is run on a sliding fee scale, so that parents pay for a portion of their child care that is proportional to their income and family size. The household income must be below 150% of the federal poverty level at the time of application. Families enrolled in TANF automatically qualify. The child care this program pays for will be available during the parents' work or school hours. Parents may talk to their local Child Care Resource and Referral Agency to learn more about their options.
The Nebraska Child Care Subsidy Program is available through the Department of Human and Health Services. Earned and unearned income rates are both considered during the assessment process, including child support, Social Security, and alimony. To qualify for the program, parents must be employed or going to school, or they must be incapacitated. If there is a medical reason behind a parent's inability to afford care for a child, the state requires proof of that condition. The program is only for children up to the age of 12, unless the child has a physical or mental disability.
The Child Care Subsidy Program in Nevada is provided by the Child Care and Development Fund. It is meant to help families get enough financial support to get through their education or to find job security. The money CCDF offers also goes towards helping child care providers improve their environments for the children in Nevada. The program will assist children through the age of 12, though some older children may qualify for assistance with disabilities. Families may choose to obtain a referral to an approved child care facility in their area at no cost through the state of Nevada.
In order to qualify for New Hampshire Child Care Scholarships, you must be working, looking for work, or enrolled in a training program to obtain a job in the near future. Applicants must have a total family income that does not exceed 250% of the federal poverty level. That amount is significantly higher than what it is in other states, mainly because of the high standard of living in New Hampshire. There are 11 District Offices in the state that can help parents who want to apply for a scholarship. The Division of Family Assistance is in charge of distributing child care assistance.
New Jersey State Subsidies for Child Care provide financial assistance for day care, afterschool care, pre-kindergarten instruction, and more. Children may be enrolled in the program until they turn 13, unless they have disabilities. Parents who receive cash assistance under the state welfare program are eligible for free child care in New Jersey. Other families may receive aid to pay for a portion of their child care. The household income for a qualifying family may not exceed 200% of the federal poverty guidelines for the first year in the program. After that, the limit is raised to 250% of the poverty level.
New Mexico's Child Care Assistance Program is reserved for families at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. The amount of subsidy available for each family depends on the size of the family, the age of the child, the income of the parents, and the cost of child care. Because of the high demand for affordable child care in New Mexico, there is a waiting list for approval for families between 100% and 200% of the poverty level. Parents must be working and/or going to school to qualify for assistance, and they must be able to prove their income or enrollment status.
If you are in need of subsidized child care in New York, you can get that from the Administration for Children's Services. The ACS offers financial assistance for children between the ages of 6 weeks and 12 years. Children with special needs are eligible for assistance through the age of 18. In most cases, parents must use ACS-funded child care centers to participate in the program, but there are many of those throughout the state. Parents may also look into the Universal Pre-Kindergarten program through the state, which provides free education for all eligible 4 year olds. This program is also funded by the ACS, much like Out of School Time. Families needing after school care can take their kids to OST while they finish their work days.
There are multiple ways to get assistance for child care in North Carolina. The Child Care Services Association offers a scholarship program for parents who are working or going to school to pursue work in the future. Children must be enrolled in licensed child care programs that are willing to work with the scholarship program at the time of enrollment. Families may also receive support from child care program discounts, sliding fee scales, DHS Child Care Subsidy Assistance, tax credits, and flexible spending accounts. Each of these programs have different income and age requirements to meet.
The Child Care Assistance Program in North Dakota is set up much like many of the others on this list. Families are able to pay a reduced amount of money for their child care, depending on the size of their family and the money they earn each month. Co payments vary from one family to the next, especially if more than one parent is bringing in an income. Unearned income like child support and alimony are taken into consideration. Parents may apply for this program online, by mail, or in person at a county social service office.
The Child Care Assistance Program in Ohio is run through the County Department of Job and Family Services. Most parents in this program must pay for a portion of their child care through a co-payment, which will vary by income and by the cost of care. Parents are allowed to choose what kind of child care their children receive, as long as the provider is licensed. This includes at-home care if necessary. Even though CCAP in Ohio likely will not cover the entire cost of child care, it can reduce the cost of it substantially.
The cost of child care in Oklahoma is particularly low, mainly as a result of a low standard of living throughout the state. Nevertheless, some families here struggle to pay for day care and after school care for their children, which is where state subsidized care comes into play. Thanks to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, families earning less than $2,000 a month with one child in care or families earning less than $3,400 a month with four or more children in care can receive assistance to pay for their expenses. Oklahomans also have the unique opportunity to earn child care subsidies through their tribe, in the event of Native American heritage. Parents on the tribal role are encouraged to contact their tribe's headquarters for more information.
The Employment Related Day Care program in Oregon is set up to help families whose income falles below 185% of the federal poverty line. Children are eligible for the program until they are 12 years old, unless they have special needs. In order to qualify for assistance, parents must need child care to remain employed, and they must have a job or be enrolled in school for the possibility of getting a job in the future. If you are an Oregon resident who would like to receive a child care subsidy for your family, you can use the co-payment estimation calculator that DHS provides online to find out how much money you may have to pay for care.
The Child Care Works Subsidized Child Care Program in Pennsylvania offers financial assistance for working families. To qualify for the program, parents must live in Pennsylvania and work or go to school at least 20 hours a week. Parents looking for work may still qualify for assistance if they have proof of a job that they will start within 30 days of the application. Teen parents may qualify for assistance while completing their high school diploma or GED. The annual income for the family must fall below 200% of the federal poverty income guidelines. All applicants must turn in proof of identification for each parent or caretaker in the home.
The Department of Human Services in Rhode Island runs a Child Care Assistance Program for working families. To participate in this program, you must work or go to school at least 20 hours a week. All families must have an income that is below 180% of the federal poverty level, and they must work with a licensed child care provider or one that is approved through DHS for CCAP. DHS has 30 days to make a decision on a person's application. Most families pay a co-payment for child care, but there are many who receive child care for free with CCAP.
The ABC Voucher Program is South Carolina's option for child care assistance. With the help of funds from this program, families receive free or low cost child care from state-approved facilities. The program works for licensed care centers, licensed churches, registered family child care homes, licensed group child care homes, afterschool programs, and even in-home care, as long as DHS approves it. There are three levels of aid available, with the most aid given to those with the strongest financial need. The money is given directly to the child care provider, and then parents pay the remainder as a co-payment.
In South Dakota, the Child Care Assistance Program is sponsored by the Federal Child Care and Development Block Grant. The funds available here are limited, but most parents are able to receive some kind of discount for their child care. Income, family size, and age all factor into the amount of co-pay a family must come up with. Children are eligible for assistance until the age of 13, or until the age of 18 for special needs. A family's income must fall below 175% of the federal poverty line to be a part of the program. Parents may choose to get child care through a relative and still receive the assistance, as long as the person meets requirements from the Division of Child Care Services.
There are many child care assistance avenues that parents can take through the Tennessee Department of Human Services. Families First Child Care Assistance helps families whose primary income providers work or go to school. Transitional Child Care Assistance is for parents who are transitioning off the Families First program. At Risk Child Only is a program for caretakers who are caring for a child even though they are not the parents of that child. Teen Child Care Assistance is for middle school and high school mothers who need child care while they complete their education. All of these are available through DHS.
The state of Texas has child care subsidies for parents who are working or going to school. These are provided by Child Care Services. Because Texas is so close to the Mexican border, many of these programs will allow for children of illegal aliens to be cared for if they are permitted to be in the state. The amount of assistance available varies by family, and it is largely based on income and family size. Texas's large size makes the demand for programs like this very high. Parents often must go on a waiting list for months before receiving care. Early application is the key to gaining assistance.
The Kids in Care program in Utah helps child care providers gain reimbursement for watching children in low income families. This money is used or families who are working, going to school, or participating in job training programs. Parents must apply for Kids in Care assistance with proof of residency, income, identity, and more. The funds here will pay for up to 150 hours of "drop in" child care. Unlike many of the other programs on this list, Kids in Care only offers temporary assistance, mainly for a sudden loss of job or a need to reenter the work force.
In Vermont, the Child Care Financial Assistance Program offers subsidies to help parents pay for child care. These subsidies are sent directly to the child care providers. Parents must fall meet specific income guidelines in order to qualify, but some families are eligible for 100% paid care. The state also provides child care scholarships and tax benefits to help parents offset the cost of day care or afterschool programs. The Vermont Department for Children and Families offers a free Subsidy Prescreening Tool online that families can use to determine their eligibility for the program.
The Child Care Subsidy Program in Virginia works on a sliding scale, where parents are given assistance that is proportional to their income and family size. The funds for this program are somewhat limited, but there are plenty of families that are able to get help in VA. Families must work with licensed child care facilities that are approved by the state.
Washington has multiple Child Care Assistance Programs to help parents pay for child care and preschool. Homeless Child Care is available for homeless families while parents work, look for work, or get help they need to find stable housing for their families. Seasonal Child Care helps families in the agricultural community pay for child care during the off season for their crops. Working Connections Child Care helps parents as they work or go to school. All of these programs are available through the Washington State Department of Early Learning.
West Virginia does not have any child care subsidy programs at this time, but they do have other forms of financial assistance that parents can use to cover their costs. For instance, the West Virginia Low Income Energy Assistance Program helps parents pay for their heating and air costs. The Children's Health Insurance Program helps families cover the cost of health insurance. There are other opportunities for paid school lunches, summer food services, and more which can free funds for child care.
The Child Care Subsidy program in Wisconsin, known as Wisconsin Shares, helps families pay for child care for children under the age of 13. Special needs children are eligible for assistance until age 19. To qualify, parents must have unsubsidized work, attend high school, participate in W2 employment program, participate in Food Stamp Employment and Training, be searching for work, be in a job training program, or meet other requirements outlined by the state. The value of the subsidy is based on income and family size.
The Department of Family Services in Wyoming offers a Child Care Subsidy Program that helps parents pay for child care. It is available through a combination of state and federal funds. To qualify for the program, parents must provide proof of income and proof of the cost of child care. This information will be used to determine how much assistance each family receives.