Child Care Assistance Grants

Finding a good, reliable and affordable child care can be a daunting task for any family. When the budget is already strained to the limit there can seem to be little hope. In most cases, giving up an income so that one parent can stay at home is not an option. In other cases, there is only one income to work with and the money is even tighter. There are options to help pay for childcare but they are not always widely known. 

Job and Family Services: Your First Resource for Childcare Assistance 

Depending on where you live, there may be a limited number of resources for child care assistance. Instead of trying to track down and determine if it is worth applying for each one on your own, it is easier to call your county's Job and Family Services (formerly welfare) office and ask for a listing of resources. There are several grants that are available through these offices directly including Title XX which allows working parents to get childcare through certified providers. Child care is also available for parents who are looking for work, going through training or furthering their education. Limited assistance may also be available for parents who work swing shifts so that they can sleep. Child care is paid for by a sliding fee with some parents paying nothing out of pocket. 

If there is a family member that is eligible to care for the child, that family member may be paid through this program as well. 

Local Day Care Centers and Nursery Schools 

If you do not qualify for a Title XX grant for childcare and there are no other resources through their office, Job and Family Services can provide additional information for local programs that may be able to help. The problem with these programs is that they tend to only operate at certain times of the day and for certain days of the week leaving the parent to find alternate care for weekends, evenings, holidays and emergency days due to weather conditions. Most of these programs are based on income and may have a waiting list based on demand. Headstart is a prime example of these programs. While they are very beneficial to the child, they may not be a great childcare option to the working parent especially for someone who does not work a set schedule. 


Day Camps and Other Programs 

If Headstart is not an option, there are sometimes day camps, especially in the summer months. Again, these may be income based camps or may provide a waiver for people who have lower incomes. Like Headstart and other preschool programs, a day camp is only a good childcare option for those who work steady, daytime only shifts and have options for days when the camps are not open. 

Education Grants 

For some parents, going back to school after their child reaches a certain age has always been the plan. The expense of childcare may change those plans especially for those who may have to stop working while going to school. While Job and Family Services does provide some assistance for those who qualify there may be other options including a small stipend through some training programs and the use of grant checks to pay childcare expenses. If you qualify for Federal Pell grants and additional grants you may have an overage which is money that is disbursed directly to you at the end of each quarter or semester if you are in college. This is money that is meant to help you pay for books and other expenses incurred during schooling and childcare certainly counts. 

Conclusion 

There are a number of childcare grants available but you have to search for them. Qualifying may be a simple matter of a form or two or may be more difficult. It is an important decision that you must take care. Finding the right person to trust with your child's health, happiness, and safety while you are working or going to school is vital. Making sure that you are able to afford this quality care is equally vital especially if you are far from family and need to rely on your community.