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Get help with child care expenses in Arizona and find free daycare.

Tens of thousands of families across Arizona receive free day care assistance from the DES Child Care program. It supports everyone from single moms and dads to low-income two parent households, and find how to apply for free daycare services near you. in Arizona. The purpose of this government agency is to assist eligible, low income families and parents with paying for both child and day care costs.

By supporting families with these expenses, it will allow the parents to participate in employment and specific job training activities. Or the parent can be pursuing education opportunities related to either their current employment or the child care provided may help them find a job in a different field. In addition, assistance is provided in certain other circumstances when parents are unable to provide the child care themselves.

Find free day care providers

Families who participate may also choose from a variety of free or low cost child care providers that are located across the state of Arizona, including in Phoenix, Mesa, and Tucson.. This can include private care providers, Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS) licensed centers, DES-certified small family or group child care homes that agree to accept the free daycare vouchers from the parent. In some instances, and after being pre-approved, the state may allow non-certified relatives to provide the family with the day care they need.

There are conditions that need to be met in order to be eligible for assistance and this free government subsidy. They include those listed below. The Arizona DES Child Care Services may be provided to struggling families for the following needs.

  • The applicant is working or currently is trying to find employment.
  • The family participates in the DES Jobs Program.
  • Training and eligible education activities that are related to employment need to be a minimum of 20 hours per week.
  • GED, High school, remedial education classes for teen parents is occurring. The teenager needs to remain in school in order to get the subsidy.
  • If the applicant is unable or unavailable to provide child care themselves for their children due to a physical, emotional, or mental condition, participation in a drug rehabilitation or treatment program, or if they are serving a court order for a community service program.
  • The family is currently a resident in a homeless or domestic violence shelter.
  • Other needs as determined by the Arizona Child Protective Services or needs determined from a foster care case plan.




Child care expenses are paid for a portion of a 24-hour day when neither parent is available to provide the care due to participation in those eligible activities or needs that are listed above.

There are additional conditions to be eligible for financial aid, and those requirements vary with each unique program. Some of the assistance programs will have household income eligibility requirements based both on gross income and family size, and most may also require that family to pay a portion of the child care costs if the expenses exceed a certain level.

The Department of Economic Services will also contract and certify with small family child care homes in order to make the program as wide ranging as possible. The state of Arizona will contract with the Department of Health Services (DHS) licensed child care centers, partner with group homes and also work closely with non-certified relative providers to provide services for eligible families and ensure the vouchers are provided to qualified low-income families. All of these groups work to offer free daycare to income qualified families in Arizona.

Last but not least, DES Child Care will also provide direct funding to also increase the availability and improve the quality of child care providers and the services the companies offer. They strive to provide leadership for statewide coordination and collaboration of various programs. They will also put resources into early childhood development initiatives and associated programs. The state works towards providing the highest quality care to as many families as possible.

Other program terms

  • Since the exact amount of child care expenses are determined by each provider, there may be some situations in which the parent may need to pay part of the total child care costs or related fees.
  • The child care bills paid by the state may vary due to certain factors, including depending on the age of your child and the type of provider you select to use.
  • The State of Arizona may pay either a portion or they may pay all of the cost of child care depending on the exact assistance program that you are eligible for and the actual provider charges. In addition, the state DES organization may require you to pay a specific co-payment based on factors including your gross monthly income and family size.
  • The applicant may be placed on a waiting list. Only a limited number of residents are able to enroll into this program each year.
  • Child care charges that will not be reimbursed by Arizona include registration, meals, transportation, and a few other costs.

Applying for free daycare or child care help in Arizona

Contact Arizona DES at 602-542-4248 to learn more about child care assistance.


By Jon McNamara

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