Understand your options for affordable childcare

When you are needing to put your kid into childcare, paying for the care may seem impossible.

When you are needing to put your kid into childcare, paying for the care may seem impossible. Some may not fit your budget and seem expensive. Some childcare centers may be affordable but don’t have the reputation you are looking for. Whichever the case, it is important to remember that there are options out there to help you pay for the kind of childcare your kid needs. There are options available so you don’t have to resort to quitting your job or sacrificing the care your kid needs.

There are two main options for help paying for childcare, public and private. The public option includes state and federal funding.  Private options include scholarships through the childcare facility or private organization. Neither option is better than the other, whichever one makes the most sense for your situation is the best option for you.

In the state of Indiana, public options include the Childcare and Development fund (CCDF) which helps low-income families obtain childcare so that they may work, attend training or continue their education. CCDF is managed through the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration in the Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning. Applying for CCDF can be done online or by contacting a case manager.

On My Way Pre-K is another option that offers grants to 4-year-olds from low-income families so that they may have access to a high-quality pre-K program. This program allows you to use the grant funds for any approved On My Way Pre-K program to ensure your child is ready for Kindergarten. You can apply for this grant online.

Head Start and Early Head Start are federal programs that promote school readiness of children and infants under five from low-income families. Head Start programs provide a learning environment that supports children’s growth in many areas such as language, literacy, and social-emotional development. The programs emphasize the role of the parent in the learning process. This program is different than On My Way Pre-K because it is a federal program, not a state-based program.

Brighter Futures Indiana is a great resource for understanding your public options for childcare both from the state and federal levels.

Early Learning Indiana is an organization that works to ensure that every child is empowered with essential skills to be successful in kindergarten and beyond. They offer programs and daily daycare for your child. Paying for this program can be done through the public options or if you do not qualify for CCDF or On My Way Pre-K, you can apply for Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) Scholarships.

Many childcare programs offer scholarships that will cover part or all of tuition costs for your child. To find these or learn about them, you will want to contact the program directly for information on tuition and financial assistance through their school. You can often find that information on their website.

Paying for childcare can be a tremendous burden but there are options available to you through public and private avenues. The state has funding available to cover childcare costs and there are federal programs available like Headstart. Most of these programs allow you to apply easily online. Many daycares and childcare organizations have scholarships available as well. There are resources and options available to you to set your child up for success.