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Qualifying for child care assistance


Please note that what follows is only a guideline that can help families find out if they might be eligible for a DHS child care subsidy. To make sure, an application must be processed by a DHS caseworker.


This site contains a Child Care Copay Calculation link opens in a new window that can help parents figure out if they may be eligible for the subsidy, and if so, how much of the child care bill (the copay) they would be responsible for paying. To use the copay calculation, enter total gross household income and family size. If the family is under the income limit, the correct copay amount will appear. If the family is over the income limit the screen will display "Income Exceeds Eligibility for Child Care Services".

Eligibility also depends on the maximum amount DHS will pay. To find this out, click on Child Care Payment Rates. The maximum rate depends on how many hours the child is in care, the child's age, the type of care, and the geographic area where care is provided. Make sure to go to the right chart. It should be the one that corresponds to the child care provider's zip code.

The amount DHS would pay is the difference between the maximum rate and the copay. If the copay is more than the maximum rate DHS would pay, the family is not eligible for a subsidy. (Please note: If the family is eligible and the provider charges more than the DHS maximum rate, the family is responsible for both the copay and the additional charge.)

Child care need 

Finally, eligibility depends on what is called "child care need". That is, the child care must be necessary for the parent to remain employed. For example, in a household with two parents, we could only cover the child care for the hours when both parents are required to be at work.


To apply for assistance, contact the local DHS office. You can also call your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) They can answer questions about the application process in your area, and give you general information about the ERDC income limit and copay structure. For the phone number of your local CCR&R, go to the Child Care Resource and Referral Directory or call 1-800-342-6712.