Find affordable day and child care centers.

Every single state has a service that families can use to help them find an affordable daycare provider in their local community. The name of the program may change by state or local government agency, but the most common name is the Child Care Resource & Referral Service, or CCR&R. It will generally be available as an online tool that people can navigate to find an inexpesive center in their local town or city.

Not only may the exact name of the service that is used vary by state, but so will the agency that administers it. The Department of Human Services or Division of Family and Community Services will often run it, but once again the exact name of the government agency will also change from one state to another. However there will always be some resource that families, single moms or dads, and really anyone can use to find an affordable as well as high quality daycare center.

Daycare referral service

As any parent knows, it is very difficult to not only pay for daycare, but it is also challenging to find someone to watch your child while at work or while the parent is in class. Some people even need cheap (but quality) care for before or after-school or during holidays, such as summer vacations. There can be many reasons why someone is trying to locate an inexpensive daycare center, and luckily CCR&R will satisfy all of the requests.




Not only is is difficult to find an inexpensive child care center, but there are too many examples of providers that offer sub-par services to hard working moms and dads. This is why Child Care Resource & Referral Service will also use data to rate each center, and there are often “stars” assigned to them using a quality scale. In addition to the quality of the care being sometimes being low, parents often find the cost of daycare to be un-affordable. In fact, many families can spend 10% to as much as 30% of their total household income for this cost, so there are many issues to be covered by each state.

The free Child Care Resource & Referral Service is one resource that was created to address this challenge. Each state will compile information on all of the daycare providers that operate in a local community. There can  be information on individuals that care for a kid, local centers that are inexpensive, as well as national providers as well. Not only will CCR&R collect information on what services each provider provides, but they also rate them on quality as well as cost. All of this is done in an effort to locate low cost, or cheap, daycare centers.





CCR&R also collects information on any financial aid that may be available to pay for child care costs. It collects information on government subsidies, voucher programs, and even non-profits that may all help. There will be data on which centers off transportation or which can care for a child either before or after school. Many other scenarios are covered as well, not just the price. It is one source of information on everything having to do with both the quality of daycare providers as well as the costs associated with them.

Working parents, no matter their income, race, religion, or whether they are married or not, can use a Child Care Resource & Referral Service to find an affordable provider. The information is normally housed online, and any person can navigate to a website available in their state to conduct this search. In other words, CCR&R is not only available to low income parents, but any person seeking advice can use it.

Due to its accessibility and amount of free information, this is why many parents use it for finding affordable care. Some suggestions on searching include the following.

  • People often start by searching for the costs involved in using a local daycare provider.
  • Then, once they find an option that falls into their budget, the next steps is to search by quality of the center. This is usually a “star” rating system.
  • There are also different types of care that can be arranged, such as for day time, Year Round, Overnight, weekend, summer vacation, and more.
  • Also screen to see whether a government subsidy is allowed as a form of payment.
  • Other factors when searching the Child Care Resource and Referral Service includes the kids age, whether transportation is available or not, and more.

While the goal is to always find a provider that is affordable, this is not the only factor that a parent should search for. They also need to cross-reference with quality, as an agency that is selected also needs to ensure the kids is healthy as well as provides for their emotional and social development. It is not all about being “cheap” or inexpensive, but parents also need to factor in the quality of the daycare.




In addition to the online tool, the state agency that operates one of these locator services, such as the Department of Human Services, can sometimes provide face to face advice to the parent. There may be a local social workers at a local DHS office that can meet with the family to answer questions on everything from financial aid to quality/star ratings. Local governments want parents to continue to work and gain new skills, so they have an interest as well in showing people how they can find an affordable daycare provider.

For more information, search for Child Care Resource and Referral Services in your state. Or talk to a local social service office, such as DHS, as they can help parents of all income find an affordable day care center.

By Jon McNamara

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