One of the most frustrating aspects of being a working citizen is not having the ability to afford childcare. The majority of day care facilities charge as much as $300 per week for each child. That amount is difficult for middle-class citizens to pay. Low-income families cannot fathom paying such an expense. Luckily, the government and the various states have developed programs that help low-income families get the childcare they deserve. The following is some information on those programs:
Extended Day Program
The extended day program can assist low-income working parents during the regular school year. Many school districts offer this program. The school keeps children before and after school hours for a small monthly fee. A parent can drop a child off as early as 7:00 a.m. and pick the child up as late as 6:00 p.m. This program is excellent for low-income workers with daytime weekday jobs. The cost is approximately $150 per month for before and after school. The weekly rate is approximately $37.50, which is extremely competitive.
The attendants participate in various activities with the children before and after school. They help the children with their homework so that the parents have less stress when they come home from work. They give the children a full breakfast in the morning program and a snack in the evening program. Parents can opt to pay for the morning program only, the evening program only, or both programs. The evening program is the more expensive of the two because it lasts so many hours after the school releases the children. The evening program is $100 while the morning program is $52.
The Child Care Assistance Program
CCAP is a special program that provides childcare assistance to certain low-income families. People who are collecting TANF are automatically eligible to receive this assistance. Teenage parents who are working on obtaining their educations are also eligible for CCAP. Those who are not collecting TANF can still qualify if they are pursuing education that will improve their work skills and job opportunities. Parents can apply for CCAP assistance with the Department of Children & Family Services. The financial guidelines for qualification are along the lines of a $3,000 per month income threshold for a four-person family. The applicant must have proof of income, social security cards, birth certificates, and immunization records for all children. Application processing can take up to 30 days.
Head start is a program for children between the ages of three and five. The program provides childcare services and medical services to the children who qualify. It is funded by the Administration of Children’s Services. The Head Start program covers childcare from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Teachers work with the children to fine-tune their social and developmental skills. Those who are interested in the program may apply online. Applicants go on a waitlist until there is an available slot in the program. It is best for an interested person to complete an application as quickly as possible since the wait may be extended.
Child Care Voucher Program
The Child Care Voucher Program is in effect in many states throughout the United States. It provides a subsidy of up to 95 percent of childcare cost to low-income families. Subsidy recipients will choose an eligible provider from the list of licensed providers. They may also select a relative or an in-home provider. The Child Care Voucher Program covers the childcare from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday. This is known as the traditional childcare period. However, the program also covers non-traditional times for parents who work odd shifts. It covers nights, weekends, and evenings.
A wide variety of options is available for low-income childcare. Many stay-at-home moms also run small day care businesses in which they discount their services. There is a way to make working and taking care of your children affordable.