Parents that are working, in school or training in Vermont may qualify for child care assistance. Government grants and subsidies may be available to low income and working poor parents. The program is intended to help families with paying a portion of their expenses.
Many people and government agencies refer to the program as a subsidy, but it is really a form of financial assistance. This government payment can help income qualified families with paying for the cost of their child care for a defined period of time. Any payments are made directly to your provider and not to the family that is enrolled.
Vermont has created a number of eligibility requirements. In addition, funding is very limited so many families will first need to be entered onto a waiting list. In order to be qualified for this program, some or all of the following may need to be met.
First and foremost, the applicant needs to meet income guidelines. These are established both by Vermont and the federal government. Some may be tied to certain poverty guidelines. The income limits will also be set by the number of residents in the household.
Applicants will also be required to have an accepted service need or reason for applying for government subsidized child care. So they need to be working, in school, or in job training, as expanded upon below.
Those residents seeking a subsidy need to be working towards self-sufficiency. So this means taking classes, whether in college or a GED. The state will also help parents that are in job training. In general, people need to actively enrolled and participating on a full time basis. So if a person is attending training or going to class for just a few hours the assistance may not be provided.
Many people struggle with paying the bills even when they are fully employed. This is another situation in which Vermont may be able to assist. The program will encourage parents to work as the subsidy can help offset a portion of their day care expenses. So this means that your entire paycheck will not need to go paying for a child care bill.
When they apply, most residents will be placed onto some form of waiting list. You will be notified when funding becomes available. This needs to occur due to the number of applications that are approved exceeding federal and state government funding levels.
To apply or learn more, you can contact a local Community Child Care Support Agency. These are located across the state. Social workers can help you apply, answer questions, and process applications. Online applications are also accepted from the Bright Futures Information System Or dial 1-800-479-6151.
While the information listed above is the main program in the state, residents have a couple other resources available to them. Some additional suggestions include the following.
Even if you do not qualify for a subsidy, you can still ask your child care provider about a sliding fee scale or a scholarships. Some struggling or more moderate income families who do not qualify for financial assistance or public aid still struggle to pay those expensive costs and make ends meet. Some companies and providers may offer discounts or lower rates upon the individual’s ability to pay.
Check with your employer for any assistance. A small, but increasing, number of employers and companies in Vermont offer some form of support to working families. They also realize that child care costs continue to increase and they take steps to assist. Some specific examples include you can ask your employer about onsite child care benefits, the option to deduct child care expenses prior to taxes, flextime, child care contributions, or any other solutions they may have.
Low income families can often utilize child care tax benefits as well. There are several state of Vermont as well as federal government tax credits that can be used to reduce the amount of income taxes you owe.
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