The concept of subsidized child care is similar to other government-assistance programs. If a parent or family meets a specific financial threshold, they are entitled to receive some subsidy on the money they must pay for childcare. There are a few other criteria that can help a parent qualify for childcare, which does not necessarily include income.
In the United States, the subsidized child care programs vary based on each state. Depending on where you live, your state will have different requirements and options for subsidized child care. Each state receives funding from the Federal government to help support these programs. Every state has different names for their programs. Some are subsidies; others are vouchers, fee assistance or something else.
Every state will have its own set of programs. As an example, we look at the different options available to low-income parents in California. There are numerous programs in the state that can help parents with the cost of childcare. These include CalWORKs Child Care and Alternative Payment Programs for Child Care. The state also has financial assistance programs for needy families or low-income women who have children.
It is not easy getting subsidies for childcare in the United States. Parents must qualify based on the criteria set out by each program. We assess the CalWORKs program to see an example of these requirements.
The CalWORKs program requires that parents who want to receive cash aid for a program of their choice must work or be participating in a Welfare-to-Work program approved by their county. It is also possible for teens who are pregnant or already mothers to get assistance with this program.
The amount of subsidy provided by the program depends on numerous factors, such as the number of people in a family, the amount of income the family is generating, and the number of children in the family. The CalWORKs program has a 48-month limit, except for certain circumstances.
Understanding Your Options
The best option for a new parent who is looking for childcare subsidies is to contact the resources local to your state or county. There is a handy state-by-state resource map that you can use to find out more about the programs in your area.
If you are having trouble understanding the requirements, stipulations or the process of applying for subsidies, you may want to look into hiring a legal aid attorney. These are attorneys who help low-income families through the application process to ensure they have a better chance of being accepted into a subsidy program.