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Virginia free child care assistance programs.

Low income parents that are attending education, working, or enrolled in job training programs can get help in paying for child care expenses or free daycare vouchers. The state of Virginia has created the Child Care Subsidy Program that is able to provide direct financial assistance to qualified families and parents. The goal is to help families gain economic self-sufficiency and increase their income over the long term by providing them the means to attend work or training/education.

The subsidy program, with the application number below, is both family-focused and centered around the child. It is also fairly flexible. Virginia will allow individuals and families the ability to choose any legally operating child or day care facility. Be sure that who you select has been screened and was found eligible to participate in the assistance program.

The formal name of the resource is the Child Care Assistance and Referral program, or CCAR. It is administered at the city and county level across the state by social service departments. Families that are struggling with finding some type of affordable option for their child while they work or attend school or job training are the main beneficiaries. Virginia will help subsidize the cost of child care in centers, schools, family child care homes, or even certain, pre-approved family members may even be able to provide the care. Some applicants may also be given free day care for their kid(s).

Note there is often a waiting list to this free government subsidy due to demand. Those who are eligible tend to be the following.

  • Families that receive cash assistance, or what is officially called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families/TANF. These individuals also need to be actively looking for work.
  • Low and moderate income residents, the unemployed, or working poor that are currently employed and/or in training.
  • People that care for children who are in Foster Care.
  • Anyone that is enrolled in the Virginia Initiative for Employment Not Welfare program, and who meets other conditions, may be qualified.
  • Income qualified families with children with special needs, as well as homeless families that apply while they are in a shelter, may be able to receive the subsidy.




Even if you fall into one or more of those categories, there are other conditions that need to be met before the state will help pay your costs. They include income limits, the child needs to be under a certain age, and much more.

As indicated, this is a subsidy, so parents and enrollees still need to pay a portion of the costs in most instances. Depending on eligibility and factors such as your income, Virginia families more than likely will be responsible for paying a portion of their monthly child care fee as the free child care programs are rare and hard to get. The state will do what it can to ensure this amount is reasonable.

The state of Virginia CCAR program may pay the remaining amount of the day care expense. There may also be a registration fee put into place by the state. Parent fees are paid directly to the day care provider and the amount due will be based on your income, size of family and the number of children in the program.

Lower income families with children under the age of 13 may be eligible for the subsidy and government financial assistance. Of course they need to meet income eligibility criteria, are in TANF/VIEW education and job training programs. There may also be some exceptions made by the state if the children are participating in Head Start. Residents children who need help in paying for their daycare costs may benefit from this child-centered and family-focused assistance program.





Apply for free or low cost day care in Virginia

Those who are interested can call CCAR in their county for more information of financial aid or free vouchers. Or they apply over the phone or in person. The phone number is 703-449-8484 or (804)-646-7407. Or you can apply online at their website. You can also navigate to the website in order to find an approved, quality child care provider to meet the needs of your family. They will be registered or licensed with the Virginia Department of Social Services.

By Jon McNamara

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