Income Eligible Child Care (Child Care Access)

  • Description
  • Funding History
  • Proposals

Income Eligible Child Care provides subsidized child care for the children of low-income parents not receiving child care through TAFDC who are working, disabled, in an education or job training program, or who otherwise meet the activity requirement. Child care is provided for children under 13 and for older children with special needs.

This subsidy primarily provides access to affordable child care for income eligible working families. It can also be utilized by parents in a training or education program. Lastly, parents with disabilities can also qualify for the subsidy in certain situations. The program pays a portion of the cost of care and requires payments from parents on a sliding scale based on income. Very low income families and children in foster care or with relatives who are not legally responsible for them are exempt from sliding fee requirements. The subsidy is administered by the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC).

Qualified families are offered either a child care voucher or contracted slot. A voucher allows families to choose any child care provider with space who accepts vouchers. Families may switch providers by provided they give two weeks notice. Contracted slots are slots at specific day care programs that are set aside for low-income families. Because slots are specific to one program , switching programs can be more difficult than with a voucher.

Families are eligible if their income is below 50 percent of the state median. They remain eligible as long as their income remains under 85 percent of the median. For families with a special need, income must be below 85 percent of the state median and these families remain eligible as long as their income remains under 100 percent of the state median. Special needs families are defined as having either a disabled child or adult, or an adult over the age of 65. For more information on financial assistance for child care, including eligibility requirements, please go to http://www.mass.gov/edu/birth-grade-12/early-education-and-care/financial-assistance/financial-assistance-for-families/.

EEC works with child care resource and referral agencies (CCR&Rs) to help families find child care. CCR&Rs help families apply for financial assistance and provide information to families about the child care choices in their area. CCR&Rs also maintain the waiting list for child care and offer training to child care providers.

In FY 2014 and FY 2015, additional funding in line items (3000-4070 and 3000-4040) helped increase the number of kids receiving an income eligible subsidy from about 31,000 kids at the end of FY 2013 to over 34,000 in FY 2015. However, many kids are still waiting for a subsidy on a waiting list which numbers around 25,000 kids.

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