Learn About Childcare Assistance Programs in the U.S.

Childcare in the US can cost the average family a whopping 15% of the household income. At that rate childcare can almost constitute more than any other household bill, such as food, housing, tuition, or even transportation.

Of course, this can be extremely difficult when you are trying to provide your child with quality care. Statistics show that almost 25% of parents are forced to change to part-time work, or quit work altogether just to care for their children.

This can often set back individual’s careers, all at the cost of wanting to provide your child with decent care. Every child deserves some kind of high quality education as studies have shown that the foundations of a young child’s development start with good childcare.

In order to help make child care more affordable there are government assistance options designed to do so. In this article we will outline the options that might be available to you.
Let’s first outline financial government assistant programs.

1. Child care subsidies

Every state is supposed to have a “state-run” childcare subsidy program. This programs intention is to provide lower-income individuals or families subsidies so that they may be able to afford to pay for the childcare.
In turn allowing them to continue working or attending school. This is a federally run program and every state across the nation has different requirements for eligibility, you can check whether you’re eligible if you access your states resource page.

2. Prekindergarten (State-funded)

If your child is not an infant, but too young to join a kindergarten, so usually between the ages of 3-5, you could look at Prekindergarten that is funded by the state.

These prekindergarten programs can run between a half to full day program, and focus mainly on getting your child ready for kindergarten and school. This small step could make a difference in helping your child bridge a gap in their early education.

These programs are often made available at a very low cost to almost nothing. In order to find out whether there is a prekindergarten program like this in your area you will have to consult the childcare resource agency in your state.

3. Military Assistance Programs

If you or your partner are apart of any military service of the United States of America you may be eligible for child care assistance fees. Essentially meaning if you’re a member of a military service you’ll gain financial assistance towards your children’s care costs.

The Child Care Aware of America manages this program and can provide you with more information* for what you’re eligible for based on your branch of service.
If you have any obstacles towards paying for childcare based on your current education or working situation there are government options available to you.

4. High School/ College or University Childcare assistance

In some states you can access childcare services if you’re in high school. This is an initiative to help young teen parents complete high school. If you’re interested in finding out if your state has this program available to you, you should contact your state’s childcare subsidy office or agency.

You should specify your enquiry for high school students.

If you’re a college or university student it’s also good to know that some institutions do offer on campus childcare to students enrolled.

These on campus care providers are usually made available at a discounted price to all enrolled students, staff and faculty. You should enquire at your student office to see if you’re eligible.

5. Employer assistance

Some employers may offer childcare onsite of your working place, which may be included in your pay benefits. However if this is not the case in your situation there is the option of discussing with your employer to see whether they offer a special fund payment every month.

This works by your employer placing a designated amount from your paycheck into a childcare fund. This amount will be exempt from any form of tax and will help you pay towards you childcare. You can find out if your employer offers this through discussion with the HR department.

There are also very specific assistance programs available.

Siblings

There are particular childcare programs that offer a reduction in cost if you enrol siblings in the program. This reduction in cost could be a significant percentage off of the child’s weekly or monthly “tuition”.

If you have more than one child enrolled, you should definitely enquire as to whether they have any options available to you.

Scaled pay

Some childcare providers tend to offer services at a rate based on your income. This would be on a sliding scale, for example the more you earn the more you pay and visa versa.

When you are looking for a childcare provider you should enquire as to whether they offer a sliding-scale pay option. If not you could also enquire as to whether they have any special adjusted payment options available to your situation.

Assistance from NPO

There also may be some local non-profit organisations that are looking to assist you with your situation. They could serve to help you with financial assistance specifically for your child to receive care.

There are also some childcare providers that look to help people in their community through offering scholarships or financial assistance directly.

As a way of researching your options you should try and enquire at all your possible childcare programs, whilst also consulting your local childcare resource and referral agency.

To ensure that the child care of your choice for your child is of good quality and meets the health and safety requirements you should always ask to see the child care centres licence.

You can also review any inspection reports done over the past, these are accessible via your state resource page.