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Assistance with child and daycare costs in Alabama.

There are government programs that help low income, working Alabama families either (1) pay for some of their daycare or (2) provide free vouchers for approved child care centers. There assistance may may also be for low income families that are in school or job training.

The Childcare Resources' Supplemental Child Care Program can help low income and working poor Alabama families pay for a limited amount of their monthly child care costs or it may provide free vouchers. It is a government subsidy program that is targeted at low to moderate income residents of the state that are working, in school, or participating in job training.

The leading organization in Alabama is the Office of Child Care Subsidy. They oversee and administrate this particular resource across the state. Federal government funding and grants, as well as the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), are used to pay for this subsidy or give out freedaycare vouchers. The office works closely with non-profit organizations as well as four separate Child Care Management Agencies that are located in nine regions across Alabama.

The main objective of the program is to offer the working poor, low and moderate-income families, and the disabled in Alabama with equal access to quality, affordable or sometimes free child care services. Participants and those who enroll will need to be working or in educational or job training activities. The applicant needs to make their primary home in Alabama. They also need to be employed in the state or enrolled in local school/training. There are income limits in place as well, and the applicant can’t exceed those.

Other conditions include the following. In general, you must (which means your spouse/partner as well) be working at least 35 hours per week. Or in school or training. Applicants can’t already be receiving financial assistance for their child care from Alabama DHR. Guardians may be able to qualify for this subsidized child care if they meet other conditions in place. So this is not strictly for the child’s parent but in fact other caregivers can benefit.

Age limits are in place as well. Depending on the county you live in, parents will need to meet the work requirements and have a child under the age of 13. Some exceptions on the age can be made for those that are disabled.

The financial assistance is provided by directly the Childcare Resources' Supplemental. It will help eligible parents with paying for a portion of their cost and the participant will need to pay the balance. The exact amount offered will be based on a sliding fee scale that is in place and that is related to your family size and income.

 

 

 

 

Parents are able to choose from any legally operating child care provider in their town or county that meets DHR minimum standards. You can even select a family members, provided they are certified. They also need to be willing and able to accept cash payments from the Alabama Childcare Resources program. Any provider you select will need to register with Childcare Resources (if they have not done so yet) before they can begin receiving payments or subsidies.

As indicated, families will need to share in the total cost of paying for their child care. This fee that they are responsible for paying will generally be based on family size, the number of children they have and your total household income and assets. In limited cases, low income households can receive free daycare from the government benefit. Another important factor is government funding. If it is reduced in a certain year then the family may need to pay a greater portion of the expense on their own.

All funding for Childcare Resources comes from either the federal government or state of Alabama. So resources are limited. Also, there are years when that government funding can be reduced. When this occurs many of the people seeking assistance may be placed onto a waiting list.

Applying for low cost or free daycare in Alabama

As noted, most of the financial assistance is in the form of a subsidy, but in rare care free vouchers may be given out to pay for daycare expenses. To learn more or apply dial (334) 242-1425.

By Jon McNamara

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