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Government Childcare Funds

There are federal and state government funds available that can help families pay for the cost of child care. It’s no secret that quality child care can be expensive. Fortunately there are a variety of assistance programs for low-income and other eligible families. Below we will list some government funds, child care programs, subsidies, and other resources that can help cover/lower the cost of caring for your family.



  • Child Care and Development Fund- (CCDF) provides assistance to low-income families who need child care due to work, work-related training and/or attending school. In 2012, $5.2 billion was allocated to this fund. The program aims to  improve the quality of child care, and promotes coordination among early childhood development and afterschool programs.


  • Flexible Spending Account- (FSA) is a special account you put money into that you use to pay for certain out-of-pocket health care costs. Since you don’t pay taxes on this money. you’ll save an amount equal to the taxes you would have paid on the money you set aside.

    • How does this help: If your job offers an FSA, you can put aside up to $5,000, which is the family limit, in pre-tax dollars to pay for child care expenses. This fund could get as much as $2,000 in tax savings if your combined contributions reach the maximum.


  • State Assistance- Each state receives funds from the federal government for their state’s child care fee assistance program. Click here to find the contact information for your state. Many of the subsidies have strict income and age limit guidelines, however exceptions can be made for children with a disability. You can find your state’s child care subsidy website on this State by State Resource Map. See below for some examples of specific State assistance programs and grants that are available:

    • Washington: The Child Care Subsidy Program- helps families to pay for quality child care through either the Working Connections Child Care, or Seasonal Child Care.

    • Nebraska: Children’s Cabinet-  is a financial assistance program that can refer families to providers, help them apply for subsidies, and can even help families who want to pay a relative for care.

    • North Carolina: Smart Start is a public/private partnership with the goal of promoting high quality early care that is child-focused, family-friendly, and fair to providers. For years, Smart Start subsidy funds have been used to increase the quality of early child care and education in the state.


  • Head Start Programs- Comprehensive child development programs which serve children from birth to age 5, pregnant women, and their families. They are child-focused programs and have the overall goal of increasing the school readiness of young children in low-income families.


  • State Funded Pre-K- More states than ever are providing publicly funded preschool. Some states offer Pre-K programs at low or no cost to eligible families, while other states have made pre-K available to all families. Your local Child Care Resource and Referral agency (CCR&R) can tell you if your state funds pre-K for some or all families.


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