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Connecticut free daycare and child care assistance.

The Department of Social Services in Connecticut uses state and federal government funds to provide assistance with paying child care costs to low income parents or families. There may also be free vouchers to pay for a large portion of, if not all, daycare costs. The main program available is known as Care 4 Kids.

Subsidies and financial assistance is only offered for qualified low income and poor families. In addition, the parent needs to be in job training, working full time, or in school or some other form of education activity. The child also needs to be under the age of 13, or 19 if they are disabled. If the applicant is in school or some type of class, a minimum threshold for hours will need to be met as well. So the state will not subsidize care for periods of time when the parent could be providing care.

There is a formal application and screening process in place for grants or free vouchers. A waiting list is also often used. Full documentation is required by Connecticut social workers and terms of the program. Be prepared to have paycheck stubs, information from your school or college, or proof of job training enrollment. A Parent-Provider Agreement (PPA) will also be required to be completed when you have selected a provider. The state will notify you whether your application has been approved or rejected.

Care 4 Kids is a subsidy program. This means that more than likely the parent will need to pay a portion of the expense on their own. This will be determined when your approval “Child Care Certificate” is created. However in some instances their may be free daycare offered.

The Connecticut Department of Social Services will decide this amount by looking at many factors. These include the parents’ work or training schedule, if the child has special needs, the children(s) age, and their total household income. In almost all cases a Family Fee/co-payment is required. The parent will be responsible for paying the provider their portion of the Family Fee and any other child care charges or fees that are not covered by the program.

The amount the state will need to pay is the difference between the copay and maximum rate. It is important to note that if the copay that the family would otherwise need to pay is more than the maximum subsidy, then the resident is not qualified for assistance. This is because in this case the family has enough income or assets to pay the entire bill on their own.

 

 

 

The family can select their own day care provider, within guidelines. It is fairly flexible as well. All Connecticut families can select the type of family care they want to use, provided they have been screened and approved by the CT Department of Public Health. For example, it can be in a formal business / day care center. Some other options include a private or public school-based child care program, relative, in a recreational program run by a library, boys’ and girls’ club, or maybe even a local church.

When you do select a provider it is imperative to note that the provider needs to be licensed and approved by the state and your case manager. They also need to agree to using government funds or vouchers. If they are not then the Care 4 Kids program may not reimburse you.

If you need help in finding and choosing a provider, the state has some resources to help with this activity as well. Get assistance in finding a place or businesses that gives your child a safe, child-centered environment that supports their overall growth and development. If you want some lists of providers or need help in this process, dial 1-800-505-1000.

 

 

 

 

Applying for free daycare programs in Connecticut

If you have additional questions or need information on free or low cost child care programs, call the Care 4 Kids program at 1-888-214-5437. You can also ask a social worker from a office in your town or county. Dedicated customer service representatives are available to answer any questions that you may have.

 

By Jon McNamara

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