Child Care for Low Income Families

Many Americans want to get back to work, or continue working when they settle down and have children. The burden of the cost of child care can make this dream a nightmare when they actually do the math on child care as opposed to a second income that is around the minimum wage. However there are programs and government benefits that can subsidize your child care costs helping you stay relevant in the work force.

Child Care & Development Fund
The Office of Child Care administers the CCDF and ensures that it meets its originally stated goals. Through the CCDF, the OCC combines their efforts with local, state and territory governments to provide access to affordable child care options so low income families can continue their working lives. This child care is envisioned to be high-quality after-school and early care programs that can match low income family’s needs.

There are currently 1.5 million children nationwide that receive CCDF support. The CCDF is distributed by OCC to state departments under their eligibility requirements. These eligibility requirements at the state level generally mean an income test for recipients. The providers also must meet minimum national health and safety standards to be included in the program.

Parents that apply to their local state and are eligible are given vouchers, grants or contracts with a local provider for the child care that they need. As an example in the State of Alabama, the CCDF is managed by the Department of Human Resources and has maximum income eligibility for a family of 4 is a maximum of $2981 a month. There are ranges for income that determine weekly fees for child care. If you earn lower than the lowest bracket, you pay nothing for child care, but if you fall in the lowest bracket, it requires a weekly fee of $8.00. At the highest bracket the weekly fee is $45.50.

At these rates, you can see the subsidy can be significant. You will need to check for the CCDF provider in your state, territory or tribal land by visiting the national CCDF benefits locator available at This locator provides you with the ability to find the center nearest you that can help with your child care needs within the CCDF program.

Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships
Another federally funded but state administered program is the Early Head Start program. The new funding provides grants that can enable new and existing Early Head Start programs to partner with accredited and recognized early child care centers to increase services for low income families.

The EHS program is meant to provide a quality learning start for children but also provide comprehensive services to support the families and teachers that support these at low income families. These programs provide full-day full year child care to families most in need. They provide many other services that also include health, safety and nutrition standards as well as promote increased parent involvement.

How to Find the Child Care Programs
These programs are offered throughout the US and are available through a number of sources from public school boards, early childhood education centers and private nonprofit organizations. As long as the organization applies and meets the federal standards for an Early Head Start program they can potentially qualify. If you visit this national locator, you could find a program near you. As an example there are 27 Early Head Start programs in the Detroit area.

What You Need to Apply
To apply for these programs you will need to visit a local Early Head Start center, have a child between birth and 5 years old and have an income below the poverty line and follow their application instructions.

The current US administration has increased funding to child care for low income families significantly since its inauguration with these two programs. They are currently still in effect and are helping millions of children throughout the US, at this very moment.

Learn more about child care help along with other financial assistance for single fathers here and single mums here.

Other Child Related Savings Programs
Below is a great list of common expenses that families with children have to deal with. By taking advantage of these programs, you may be able to further reduce some of your monthly expenses. This can help put more money into the family budget for savings or other important items to run the household.

- See how to get free school supplies
- Learn where to get free baby items
- Save money on diapers each month by getting free diapers.
- Get help with food at home or at school for the kids.

In addition to the above, visit the homepage of our site to learn about other state based assistance programs via out interactive map.