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.  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 school years prior to kindergarten entry.  POD subsidies may be used to assist with payments to DHS licensed preschools or exempt center-based providers that are listed with DHS.  The program has an initial 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 via 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.