The following child care assistance programs help families with the high cost of child care. Each type of child care financial assistance has different qualifications, so work with the Child Care Council and your employer's human resources department to make sure you get all the facts.
- State Child Care Subsidies
- Local Programs
- Employer/College Support
- Child Care Program Assistance
- Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) Programs
- Head Start and Early Head Start
- Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
- Federal Child Tax Credit (CTC)
- Federal Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit
- State Earned Income and Dependent Care Tax Credits
- Dependent Care Assistance Programs (DCAPs)
Child care subsidies are available in every state to help families with the cost of child care. Usually, child care subsidies are available for working families earning low-incomes, receiving TANF, or in some cases enrolled in school. If eligible, you will pay part of the cost while the rest is paid directly to your selected child care provider.
Local government, United Way agencies, or other community or faith-based organizations sometimes provide child care scholarships. (Call 211 for more information)
Your employer may provide child care scholarships, discounts to certain programs or on-site child care at reduced rates. Colleges or universities may also have programs to help with child care costs.
Child Care Program Assistance
Your child care provider may offer scholarships, discounts or a sliding fee scale.
Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) Programs
Many states offer free or low cost pre-kindergarten programs for 3 and 4 year old children. Eligibility requirements vary by state but the goal of all pre-kindergarten programs is to make sure that children are prepared for kindergarten. Public schools and other child care settings offer pre-kindergarten programs during school hours. (Contact your local school district for more information.)
Head Start and Early Head Start
Head Start and Early Head Start are federally and sometimes state funded full or part day programs that provide free early education and other services to help meet the health and school readiness needs of children in income eligible families. (845) 452-4167
You may be able to lower your taxes and even get money back if you qualify for the EITC. To qualify, you must be working full or part time and make less than a certain abount based on family size. You do not have to owe any taxes to get a refund using EITC.
If you have a dependent child under age 17, you may be eligible for the Child Tax Credit, which can be worth hundreds of dollars per child. The income eligibility for the CTC is much higher than for the Earned Income Tax Credit, but you still do not have to owe any taxes to use the Child Tax Credit.
If you have a child under the age of 13, pay for child care and owe federal income taxes, you may be eligible for this tax credit.
Many states offer their own Earned Income or Child and Dependent Care tax credits. These credits are similar to the federal ones. In some states, you do not have to owe any taxes to get the State Child and Dependent Care credit. You can get both federal and state Earned Income and Child and Dependent Care credits.
Dependent Care Assistance Programs (DCAPs)
Your employer may offer a Dependent Care Assistance Program, which allows you to have up to $5,000 a year deducted from your paycheck on a pre-tax basis. The money is placed in a special account to be used for child care tuition reimbursement. You should never put more money in this account than you will actually spend because you will lose unspent funds at the end of the year. You cannot claim any money you put in a DCAP for the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.