Help With Childcare 

I grab my husband’s hand and he helps me, and our belly, out of the car. I readjust my maternity pants, trying to get comfortable, and waddle into to yet another daycare center that we have been considering. After a tour of the center, we follow the Director to her office and situate ourselves into faux leather chairs.
Without looking up from her desk, the Director hands us a brochure saying, “Our brochure goes over our basic information and on the back, it shows the cost table. Currently we only have one opening for an infant so if you are interested in that spot, I would suggest you get your deposit into us today.”
“What would that deposit be?” my husband asks.
“We would need two months plus the application deposit so if we will be caring for your little one full time it would be $3,150.00,” the Director states without batting an eye.
I squeeze my husband’s hand and he knows, this is another daycare that does not come close to what we have budgeted. I continue to listen, feeling guilty that we are wasting her time knowing there is no way we can afford this.
We stand up and I struggle to fight back the tears, we cannot afford for me to stay home but we also cannot afford daycare. I see that the director notices that I am trying to hold it together. As we thank her and make our way to the door, she slips a pamphlet into my hands.
My husband and I walk across the parking lot and I open the pamphlet. It contains information on how to apply for childcare grants. My tears break loose with relief, there is a chance that we can do this!

Help Is Here

As childcare costs in the U.S. continue to increase for the second consecutive decade, many families struggle to afford childcare. In 2018, the average monthly cost to provide outside childcare ranged between $800 and $1,230 per household. This means that around 15% to 23% of a family’s monthly income is going to childcare expenses alone. The economic consequences of the Coivd-19 pandemic will likely cause this percentage to rise. COVID-19 decreased financial security for households nationwide, and according a survey conducted by Care.comnearly half of parents surveyed are more concerned about the costs of childcare now than they were before the pandemic. For Veterans who may already be facing financial difficulty, childcare expenses may be unreasonable. However, there are several childcare assistance programs available to families who qualify. 

Childcare subsidesor vouchers, are federal funds given to states for the purpose of creating programs that help low-income families pay for childcare. These subsidies are available in every state. To find out whether you are eligible to receive financial assistance for childcare, contact your State or Territorial Child Care and Development Fund subsidy agency by clicking here. 

There is a Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit available for caregivers that need childcare in order to work or look for workThis tax credit can get you up to 35% back on as much as $3,000 of childcare costs for one dependent. To claim this credit, you must keep track of your annual childcare expenses and file a return with the IRS. To apply, click here. 

 

The Military Child Care Fee Assistance Program helps eligible veterans and active duty service members pay for their childcare needs. Eligibility requirements vary for each branch of service. To apply, click here. 

The Childcare Assistance program offered by the Foundation for Women Warriors provides childcare stipends to working mothers of children who are up to 5 years of age. These stipends can be used at any licensed childcare provider of their choosing. To apply, click here. 

Grants are funds that are given freely and do not have to be repaid. There are several government grants available, as well as grants offered by charities, churches, foundations and private organizations. A few of the grants that are popular for, but not exclusive to, Veterans include: 

There is no limit to the number of grants that you can apply for, so be sure to apply for multiple grants to get greater financial help. To learn more about the government grants you may qualify for, click hereFor free grant writing resources, click here. 

 

VA facilities nationwide offer free childcare. Childcare providers may also offer military and veteran discounts, as well as sliding fee scales that allow families to pay a rate based on their incomeTo see more government resources available in your state, visit the Office of Child Care’s website by clicking here.  

 

Stay tuned for upcoming articles on early childhood education resources 

 

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