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The Quick Guide to Government Child Care Assistance Programs

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Government child care assistance programs provide financial help for quality child and day care to
families that come under the low-income group and are employed, in school, or undergoing job training.

Job status and income are among the factors that determine the extent of financial assistance provided.
The help can be availed in the form of a totally free daycare program if the applicant family’s income is
sufficiently low.
The Child Care and Development Block Grant funds are released by the federal government to states
and counties that are tasked with disbursing the funds at their levels. Families that are currently
employed or training for a job can apply for this assistance.

State and local government criteria for free subsidies and financial help will vary. Desirous low-income
families should contact local agencies that oversee the execution of these programs. There will likely be
a waiting list for this aid because the number of applicants is usually quite high. Make sure that your
application has all the relevant details; communicate with the local agency to learn about eligibility
criteria and steps to take.

Another mode of disbursement of funds is the issuance of vouchers or grants to the providers.
Again, the extent of funding will differ between states. Each month, more than 1.5 million
children benefit each month from vouchers and subsidies released by state and federal
government CCDF initiatives. Families that fall under the “very low income” category benefit
from free day care. Presently there are around a few hundred thousand such families enrolled in
this temporary program.

As a rule of thumb, the parents must be employed or attending classes at least 20 hours each

As a rule of thumb, the parents must be employed or attending classes at least 20 hours each
week. There are quality conditions that need to be fulfilled. Accepted families are expected to
share a portion of the total cost of child care. The family’s share of the cost will vary with the
size of the family and income level. Teenage parents that remain in school can enroll for this aid.
The federal government Office of Child Care (OCC) is a good place for low income and working
poor families to learn about resources that can help them meet the cost of child care and day
care. Such resources include after school programs. OCC coordinates with state and territory
governments to reach out to deserving families.

The OCC and CCDF also help American parents select the most appropriate child support
services for their needs. Parents seek guidance and help in not only being able to meet the costs
of child care but also in trusting the care and well-being of their children to childcare programs
that can be trusted. They want their children to pick up skills that will help them succeed in
school. Daycare providers eligible for selection by parents include those that are licensed and fulfill all
local and state government directives. Safety and health requirements must be met by the providers – individuals or organizations. Some registered providers engage in faith-based
activities and are preferred by parents who wish to give their children a grounding in religion.
The Child Care Information Services (CCIS) program provides information on childcare
providers in a county. CCIS also helps parents with information on the types of financial aids
available, the application process, and details of affordable child care centers in a locality. Child
Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) is a service similar to CCIS and parents can get in touch
with either via a toll-free number.

Child Care Aware is a not-for-profit agency that directs parents to a suitable child care and
daycare center in their area. CCA can be contacted at 1-800-424-2246.
The government supports child care licensing at the state level and helps day care employees
achieve a level of training that will help them provide better quality support and learning to the
children. The federal government not only provides financial grants to state and local
governments but also extends technical support so that a high standard can be maintained by the
assisted daycare programs. The federal government has a role to play in ensuring smooth
functioning of the process that involves close interaction between local agencies and the day care
providers. The federal government coordinates with resources such as the Temporary Assistance
for Needy Families (TANF) and early childhood programs such as Head Start.
The assistance operates on a sliding fee system. A telephonic application or one sent by mail gets
the ball rolling in many parts of the country. After this, the parents’ contribution is determined
based on present income and other factors.



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