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.