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Learn About State Child Care Assistance Programs

One of the most parts of child care assistance in America comes in the form of government-funded child care programs run by each state.

Even though these programs are administered on a state-specific basis, they are funded at least in part by the federal government. This means they often have similar requirements but may be able to impose their own additional rules and regulations.

In each state, the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) is geared toward low-income families that may struggle to pay for child care services. Some states, such as Illinois, have online child care eligibility calculators that let you know whether or not you are eligible for assistance through DHS child care services.

States will calculate your eligibility based on factors like:

  • Your county.
  • The size of your family.
  • The number of children in your family who need child care.
  • Your gross household income (this is your income before taxes are taken out).
  • Any child support you may be receiving.
  • Income from a cash assistance program (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families).
  • Income from any other source, including Social Security income.

Depending on these and certain other details, your state will let you know if your child is eligible for CCAP help.

When you apply for CCAP, the application materials that you will need to provide will probably depend on the specific rules in your state. However, here are a few of the most common materials you will be asked for:

  • Information about your household members.
  • Proof of identity.
  • Proof of legal presence for the children who need care.
  • Information about your employment status.
  • Proof of income (pay stubs, W-2, tax returns, etc.)

If your family is currently receiving assistance through certain government programs, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), you may be automatically eligible for CCAP.

In addition to helping with the costs of child care through CCAP, states also provide other types of resources. These include helpful information about where to find reputable child care providers, how to file complaints against providers and even how to view background checks.