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Free child care assistance in Delaware.

Families with young children can apply for assistance from the Delaware Child Care Services program. Financial support can be provided to help a qualified low income family pay their child or day care costs. This assistance program was created in an effort to assist parents and really enable them to obtain job training, hold a job, and in general meet the needs of the child. In some cases, free daycare is offered for working parents or those that meet other criteria. Find how to apply below.

Assistance paying for child care may also be provided to the Delaware resident in abuse cases, and this is done in an effort to help protect the child. There may be government (or charitable) financial assistance for women who are facing domestic violence.

The parent will more than likely need to pay a portion of their costs as Delaware will not pay the entire bill, except in rare cases using federal government grants The amount that the family needs to contribute will vary depending on the residents total income, number of household members, and other conditions. This amount that the parent is responsible for paying, or the fee, is generally due directly to the day care provider.

Delaware will allow flexibility to the parent when they select who provides the child care. Staff members can even help you find a provider if need be. Those who are enrolled may be able to get a list of Child Care Centers or homes in your town or county from your DSS Case Manager.

The family can select a State licensed Child Care Center or a family home. If they are found to be qualified, the individual can also choose a license-exempt provider (such as a relative, preschool, a school age program, or other approved person). That is only an option if you first obtain a Child Care Certification Provider Agreement from your Case Manager. As mentioned, if you are not sure who to choose, then a Child Care Locator Service is available.

Before you enroll and when it is time to select a provider, the family needs to select a company or person that is both registered and licensed. The day care provider must meet quality guidelines, be approved by the state of Delaware and be an active participant. If you do not select someone that is in the state’s system then assistance will not be provided.

There are a number of conditions that need to be met by applicants in Delaware. They need to be satisfied in order to receive a subsidy or grant. While program terms can change, some of them are as follows. Note that the program is in high demand, so many applicants will be placed onto a waiting list.





The child care assistance program is available for children from infancy up through twelve years of age. The Delaware Department of Social Services determines eligibility based on income and also the need for service. While the income limits can change, in the past it has been set at 200% of the Federal Government Poverty Level (FPL). There can be some exceptions made. If your child is older than 12 years of age, and has a special need or disability, then the applicant may still be eligible to receive child care assistance.

The vouchers are intended to help pay for costs while the parent improves their financial situation. So to this effect, the parent must be enrolled in school or job training. This can also include college or GED classes. Or they can be employed and working at minimum 30 hour per week. The applicant can be enrolled in a combination of school, classes, or work, as long as the minimum hours are met. If the parent is not taking steps to gain stability in their lives, in the form of an education or better job opportunities, then they will not be a candidate for receiving assistance.

There is also financial assistance available for relatives. The Delaware Kinship Navigator Program assists persons aged 55 or over, grandparents, or others who are raising another person's children, with the possibility of free vouchers given This can include immediate family members such as aunts, uncles, or similar.

Contact information to apply for free or low-cost daycare

To learn more about these or any other programs, your DSS Case manager can help. Contact them or the closest social service office. Or in in New Castle County dial 302-892-5800, or in Kent or Sussex County call 302-739-5487 for information on daycare programs, educational services and more. They can provide you with more information on the program rules and fees.


By Jon McNamara

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