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Free child care assistance in Rhode Island.

Child care assistance may be offered from the Rhode Island Department of Human Services. The government organization may be able to help qualified, lower income working families or those facing poverty pay for their outstanding child care expenses. There could be some occasional support provided for parents who are actively participating in job training. Find how to apply below.

While parents do not need to be participating in the RI Works Program in order to qualify for child care assistance, there can be subsidies provided for those families and there will not be any income limits put into place for their application. The main reason being because if a family is already eligible for help from RI Works, then those individuals will already meet the income requirements and other conditions that are in place for the Rhode Island Child Care Assistance Program, or CCAP.

If you are not already participating in the Works Program, then the in order to receive help from the child care assistance program, the individual needs to meet income thresholds and also be working at least 20 hours per week. The job needs to pay at or more than the state’s minimum wage rate. In addition, financial assistance for child care is only made available to residents whose earnings are less than or equal to 180% of the federal government poverty level. Any subsidies provided will only be enough to pay for hours of active employment. 

People may also be authorized for short term special-approval child care if it is necessitated by the disability of a parent or the child him or herself. Of course the family and child must be an eligible immigrant or citizen of the United States. Those eligible immigrants include lawful permanent residents (LPR), refugees, or persons granted asylum.

Rhode Island will most likely require individuals, families or the child’s guardian to pay a co-payment towards their bills. That amount due will be based on factors such as their family size, income level, and number of children that reside in the household. These amounts could also change from year to year as well. This is one of the reasons why the program is known as a subsidy.

Parents do have the ability to and can choose their own child care provider and if necessary may use more than one. This can be done if it is required to meet their needs so long as the hours of service do not overlap with each other. Some of the other options for the subsidy include the following. Families can select a licensed child care center, before/after-school program, or a summer camp if they want. A Rhode Island licensed family child care home may be selected or they can work with their social worker to find some other approved, quality provider.





For information or to get help and guidance in choosing quality care in Rhode Island for your child, or in order to get a list of licensed childcare providers near your workplace or home, the state does provide resources for this as well. Feel free to dial the Rhode Island Child Care Resource & Referral Center toll free at 1-855-398-7605. Representatives on site can guide you along the process and answer questions.

Your application will take time to process and there is often a waiting list. The Department of Human Services may take 30 days or more to review and approve it. The resident will be notified either way of its status and the result of the review. To expedite the process and what may help people get a decision as soon as possible, be sure to submit all required documents and proof of your financial conditions with your application.

Applying for free or low cost child care in Rhode Island

If you would like to apply for a voucher or subsidy, or to get more information, call the Rhode Island Department of Human Services Child Care Assistance Program at 1-855-697-434 or (401) 462-5300.

By Jon McNamara

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