Child Care Subsidy

The Child Care Program has two (2) subsidy programs.

The Child Care Subsidy program helps low-income families to sustain their employment, educational efforts and job training by paying a subsidy for their children who are in the care of DHS-approved child care providers.  Unless child care is required for protective purposes, families must meet income and activity requirements to qualify for this subsidy program.

The Preschool Open Doors (POD) program is a separate subsidy program with funds that provides services state-wide to families sending their children to a licensed preschool during the two (2) school years prior to kindergarten entry.  The goal of POD is to promote school readiness for children, and the program focuses on meeting the needs of the child.  Parents are not required to have an eligible activity, unlike the Child Care Subsidy program, but they must meet income and other eligibility requirements.  For POD, there is an initial application period established and published each year with the possibility of additional application periods dependent on the availability of funding.

For more information click on any of the following:


What are Child Care Subsidies?

The Child Care Subsidy and the Preschool Open Doors (POD) programs use a sliding fee scale for families meeting the income eligibility requirements.  The subsidy amount varies based on the family’s gross monthly income, family size, type and cost of care and the hours of the caretaker’s work activity.  The subsidy may not cover the full cost of care, thus families may be required to pay for some of the child care costs.

For families with children under the age of 13 years, the Child Care Subsidy program provides subsidies to help pay for a variety of legal child care settings including:  care provided in the child’s home, care by relatives or friends in their home, before and after school programs, and preschools.  All child care providers, even if they are not licensed by DHS, need to have child abuse/neglect, adult perpetrator, and criminal history background checks completed in order to receive a DHS child care subsidy payment.  This is to help ensure that the child is in a safe setting.

The Child Care Subsidy program also provides families with: guidance in selecting a child care provider; information about quality child care programs; and referrals to community resources for help with other concerns.

The Preschool Open Doors (POD) program provides subsidies for eligible families with children for up to two (2) years prior to kindergarten entry.  The POD subsidy is used to assist with payments to DHS licensed group child care homes or centers (i.e. preschools).  The program has a time-limited application period established and published each year.

The child care subsidy may be paid directly to families via an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card or direct deposit to the family’s bank account, or a direct payment may be made directly to a licensed child care provider.

Each family has different child care needs and preferences.  The parent/guardian chooses the child care provider most appropriate for their child.  Contact People Attentive To Children (PATCH) for resources in choosing a child care provider.


What are the Eligibility Requirements for Child Care Subsidy?

Child Care Subsidy Eligibility Requirements

  • Child:  Under 13 years, or between 13 to 18 years if the child cannot do self care and resides with their parent(s) or caretakers;
  • Parents or Caretakers:  Must be employed, attending school, or participating in a job-training program.  In two-parent families, BOTH parents/caretakers must be participating in any of the above activities;
  • Income limits by family size:  Gross monthly income (before taxes and deductions) must not exceed 85% of the State Median Income for the family size.
  • A completed application along with supporting documents, such as birth certificates, and income verification are required before eligibility can be established and payment initiated.
  • Re-determinations for continued eligibility are conducted every 12 months
  • HAR §17-798.3 Child Care Payments Rules
  • Child Care Gross Income Eligibility Limits and Sliding Fee Scale


Preschool Open Doors (POD) Eligibility Requirements

There is an initial application period during spring of each year.  Assistance is provided according to priority criteria based on the child’s age, referral documentation, and the family’s income:

  • Child must turn 3 years old by 7/31, or 4 years old by 12/31, or 5 years old between 8/1 through 12/31 of the applying program year (the school year that the child will be attending preschool). Priority will be given to children:
    • who received POD service the previous year;
    • are eligible to enter kindergarten at the start of the following school year;
    • who qualifies as a special population (underserved or at-risk);
  • Parents or Caretakers: No activity requirement;
  • Child for whom assistance is being requested must reside with the applicant;
  • Income eligibility for the household size
  • HAR §17-799 POD Rules
  • POD Gross Income Limits and Sliding Fee Scale
  • DHS 913A POD Special Populations Referral


How to Apply for Child Care Subsidy

The Application Process:

Apply online at
OR download the Application for Child Care Services (DHS 911) and mail or email the application and supporting documents to:

Child Care Subsidy Unit
94-275 Mokuola Street, Room 105
Waipahu, Hawaii 96797
Phone: 1-855-643-1643
Email:   [email protected]

Applications for child care services are accepted statewide, year-round, except for the Preschool Open Doors (POD) program which has a limited Open Enrollment period during the spring.


Applying Online:

  1. Before submitting your application online, you will need to upload required supporting eligibility documents. Please click on the link below that matches closest to your family situation to receive more information on which supporting document(s) are required to upload with your online application.
  2. Visit to apply online and upload required supporting eligibility documentation.
  3. Please write down your tracking number for your online application as soon as you complete your applicant details.  You will need this tracking number to return to your online application if you were unable to complete it in one session or if your session times out.
  4. Once you submit your application, you will not be able to make any edits or upload any documents.  There will be a message to inform you that your application has been submitted.
  5. You will receive a DHS letter in the mail to notify you on your family’s eligibility for child care subsidy payments or to request for additional information.


Applying by Paper:

  1. Download here and print the Application for Child Care Services – DHS Form 911.
  2. Complete all applicable fields and submit your application along with all required supporting eligibility documents and mail or email to:Child Care Subsidy Unit
    94-275 Mokuola Street, Room 105
    Waipahu, Hawaii 96797
    Phone:  1-855-643-1643
    Email:   [email protected]
  3. You will receive a letter in the mail to notify you on your family’s eligibility for child care subsidy payments or to request for additional information.


Other Community Resources

The Department of Human Services also supports the well-being of children and families by providing information about quality child care programs and how to select the best provider for your child, how to locate a child care provider in your community, as well as information and referrals to other community resources via People Attentive To Children (PATCH), a contracted provider.  For a full description of services provided by PATCH, click on the following website:

PATCH offices statewide

Program Forms

Verification Forms