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Pennsylvania child care assistance and free daycare.

Qualified parents may receive help from Pennsylvania with their child care costs or free government vouchers to pay for daycare. Assistance comes in the form of a subsidy, or partial payment, on their outstanding expenses and fees, and find how to apply for free daycare from the government in Pennsylvania below. The government provides this program in an effort to ensure that families continue to work or attend job training.

The child or day care program can assist working poor and otherwise low-income families with paying their costs involved for someone to take care of their child. Both state and federal government funding is available to parents. Applications are taken for this low cost (or free child care program) and funding is disbursed in your local county by the Child Care Information Services office, or CCIS.

The state will only pay a portion of your bills and fees, and that is why the assistance is considered a subsidy payment. Participants will still be required to make a copayment, in almost all instances. All of the funding goes directly to the child care provider and not the family that is enrolled. So basically residents in Pennsylvania will be required to pay the difference between the providers charges and the government subsidy payment. Some of the conditions include the following.

The family must have a child who needs care while the parent(s) or guardian(s) works or attends an education program. They need to be training or working for at least 10-20 hours per week. Low income guidelines need to be met. Teen parents who are seeking help must attend an education program. The child who needs the day care must be an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residency or a citizen of the United States. Some exceptions can be made. For example, the parent can generally still apply even if they just have a promise of employment that will start within 30 days of your application.

Your county may set additional guidelines as well in order to get free or financial help to pay for child care. Some of what is required in Pennsylvania, depending on location, includes one or more of the following.

The hours that a teenager or child may receive government subsidized child care must coincide with hours of education, work or their job training. Age limits are in place, and usually the child needs to be under the age of 13, unless they are disabled. In that case the age limit may be extended to 18.




Pennsylvania does try to provide some flexibility in the program. Not only will the families portion of their financial commitment be based on their income, but in addition a parent may choose the provider of their choice. The family may select a group day care home, a “full scale” center, a family day care home, or in some cases a relative. Make sure the provider has been approved by your county Child Care Information Services department. Or they may be able to complete a CareCheck in order to be approved by the state if they are not already so.

Subsidized care is in high demand, and financial assistance is limited. Therefore if funding is not available at the time that a low-income parent applies for the program, they more than likely will be placed onto a waiting list.

Many people are very concerned about the cost of affordable, quality child care. The government recognizes that their can be a barrier to someone getting a job or attending training. So CCIS may be able to help those who qualify. Working, lower income parents may be eligible for financial assistance with paying their child care expenses or free day care from the government vouchers if they meet the program’s income guidelines.

Pennsylvania will also provide a list of high quality, approved day care providers to applicants. Your local Child Care Information Services agency has databases, can provide referrals and other information. Learn about facilities near you or your work that meet your standards.

The Parent Resource and Referral Department, which is part of CCIS, keeps information on local child care facilities and other appropriate community resources to help parents search for an arrangement for their teenager, student or child. The information they have is very extensive. Get referrals to quality care facilities that offer overnight, full-time, part-time, after school, weekend care or even summer camp programs.







How to apply for free day or child care in Pennsylvania

Specialists and customer service representatives at each CCIS office are available to provide unbiased information about child care services in your town or county in Pennsylvania or they help residents apply for financial aid or free care. Get help in making informed decisions about your choices when it comes to day care. Anyone can use these services, regardless of their income. Dial 1-888-461-5437 or contact a CCIS office.

To file a complaint against an unsafe or non-compliant provider, contact the Department of Public Welfare Regional Child Development Office. Your claim will be fully investigated by staff.


By Jon McNamara

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