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Child Care Subsidies

Helping Make Work Possible

Child care subsidies are provided by social services districts to enable a parent or caretaker to work or engage in other approved activities. Child care subsidies help parents/caretakers to pay some or all of the cost of child care services. Social services districts can pay the cost of care up to the market rate.

There are three main categories of eligibility for receiving child care subsidies.

Category I - Guaranteed Child Care

Category II - Families that are Eligible for Child Care When Funds Available in the Social Services District

Category III - Families that are Eligible When Funds Available and Included in the Social Services District Child and Family Services Plan

Financial Eligibility for child care subsidies is based on the family size and the family’s gross annual income.

Financial Eligibility Guidelines
Family Size Maximum Income Ceiling 1, 2

1

$22,340

2

$30,260

3

$38,180

4

$46,100

5

$54,020

6

$61,940

Each additional member

Add $7,920

1 2012 figures – the eligibility levels are adjusted in June of each year. 2 Social services districts must provide child care assistance to families that fall under the child care guarantee regardless of whether they have funds available.  If a social services district has insufficient funds to serve all eligible families, they must serve those families based on the priorities they have established in their Child and Family Services Plan.

Schenectady, Albany, Rensselaer, and Oneida County, participate in Facilitated Enrollment  projects, which allow these districts to provide child care subsidies to working families with incomes up to 275% of the state income standard.

Benefits

Child care assistance helps families become self-sufficient.  Some parent/caretakers fall under the child care guarantee.  A child care guarantee means that if the parent/caretaker meets the eligibility requirements, the social services district must pay an eligible child care provider for the child care.  This guarantee applies only to the hours the parent/caretaker works and a reasonable amount of time to get to and from work and to the child care provider.  The following families are eligible for the child care guarantee:

Families that are on Temporary Assistance

If you are receiving Temporary Assistance and participating in your required work activity you are guaranteed child care assistance.  This program has a 60-month lifetime limit.

Child Care in Lieu of (Instead of) Temporary Assistance

This program helps working families who are financially eligible to receive Temporary Assistance and need child care to work, but choose to receive child care assistance instead of Temporary Assistance.  If you are eligible for Temporary Assistance, but choose not to continue receiving Temporary Assistance, then you may be eligible for child care in lieu of Temporary Assistance.  To be eligible for child care in lieu of Temporary Assistance you must meet the following requirements:

This program does not have a time limit.  Families may receive Child Care In Lieu of Temporary Assistance for as long as they remain eligible.  You will be required to pay part of the cost of child care.  This is called your family share.  The amount you will pay depends on your income and the size of your family.

Transitional Child Care (TCC)

This program helps working families who are no longer financially eligible to receive Temporary Assistance and need child care in order to work.  If your family is receiving Temporary Assistance, but your Temporary Assistance case is closing due to an increase in earned income or child support, or you have voluntarily closed your Temporary Assistance case, you may be eligible for TCC.  If your family is receiving Child Care in Lieu of Temporary Assistance, you may also be eligible for TCC when you become financially ineligible for Temporary Assistance.  To be eligible for TCC, families must have been receiving Temporary Assistance (or Child Care in Lieu of Temporary Assistance), for 3 of the past 6 months.  Families may be eligible for assistance through TCC for up to 12 months after the family becomes ineligible for Temporary Assistance.

For all other families, eligibility is set at 200% of poverty as set forth above. However, because funds are limited, social services districts have the right to set priorities about who they will serve, leaving some eligible families without access to subsidized child care. All special eligibility rules for child care subsidy, are set forth in the social services district’s Child and Family Services Plan, which you can obtain by visiting the Office of Children and Family Services website.

The amount to be paid for child care is the actual cost of child care up to the market rate (maximum payment rate). The market rate is set by the state based on a survey of the rates charged by local child care providers. If your provider charges more than the market rate, you will have to pay the difference. Social services districts provide child care subsidy assistance through purchase of service contracts or through cash, vouchers, or reimbursement. Families in receipt of child care subsidies are required to pay a family share towards the cost of the child care. The family share is calculated on a sliding scale with a percentage chosen by the social services district applied to the family’s income that is above poverty. Families on Temporary Assistance are not required to pay a family share.

Under the New York State Child Care Block Grant, parents have the right to choose their own child care provider. If the provider has a contract with the social service district, parents do not have to pay any more than their family share, regardless of the rate charged to non-subsidized parents. If the provider does not have a contract with the social service district and the provider charges more than the market rate, then the parent must pay the difference.

How to Apply

Applications for child care subsidy and information about eligibility may be obtained by contacting your local social services district. If you live in New York City and you are on Temporary Assistance or applying for Temporary Assistance, call or visit your local Job Center. If you are applying only for child care assistance, call the New York City information helpline at 311 and they will direct you where to call. You must complete the application package and turn it in either in person or by mail.

Information on the availability of child care providers can be obtained through the Office of Children and Family Services website or the Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency in your county. To find the CCR&R agency in your county visit the New York State Early Care and Learning Council website.