Help With Child Care 

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 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 child care grants. My tears break loose with relief, there is a chance that we can do this!

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

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Know A Vet? presents this information and these national resource directories, not as a recommendation of any specific service or provider, but as a starting point for your own research.

Please feel free to use the check sheets Before, During and After the Medical Appointment at https://www.knowavet.org/before-during-and-after-a-medical-appointment/and Choosing a Medical Service Provider, at https://www.knowavet.org/choosing-a-medical-service-provider/, to help you in your search for the best help for your individual circumstances.

In addition, there may be other federal, state and local government or private resources for your individual needs.  A VSO counselor https://www.knowavet.org/office-of-vet-services/  may be able to help you find them.

While we strongly urge you to take advantage of all you have earned through your service, we understand there are many reasons why you may prefer non-VA service providers. Here are some places to start:

Child care subsides, https://www.childcare.gov/consumer-education/get-help-paying-for-child-care or vouchers, are federal funds given to states for the purpose of creating programs that help low-income families pay for child care. These subsidies are available in every state. To find out whether you are eligible to receive financial assistance for child care, contact your State or Territorial Child Care and Development Fund subsidy agency by clicking here. 

There is a Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit https://www.irs.gov/help/ita/does-my-childdependent-qualify-for-the-child-tax-credit-or-the-credit-for-other-dependents available for caregivers that need child care in order to work or look for work. This tax credit can get you up to 35% back on as much as $3,000 of child care costs for one dependent. To claim this credit, you must keep track of your annual child care expenses and file a return with the IRS. To apply, click here. 

 

The Military Child Care Fee Assistance Program https://www.childcare.gov/consumer-education/military-child-care-fee-assistance-programs helps eligible Veterans and active duty service members pay for their child care needs. Eligibility requirements vary for each branch of service. To apply, click here. 

The Child care Assistance program https://foundationforwomenwarriors.org/childcare-assistance/ offered by the Foundation for Women Warriors provides child care stipends to working mothers of children who are up to 5 years of age. The same program offers stipends for parents with kids in Grades 1-6 for summer, winter, and spring camps.  These stipends can be used at any licensed child care provider of their choosing. To apply, click here. 

Grants https://freegrantsforveterans.org/child-care-assistance-for-veterans/ 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 here https://www.grants.gov/learn-grants/grant-eligibility.htmlFor free grant writing resources, click here https://www.nonprofitready.org/. 

 

VA facilities nationwide https://www.stripes.com/house-passes-bill-to-offer-free-child-care-at-va-facilities-nationwide-1.567958 offer free child care for veterans who need the VA for intensive medical and mental health care, such as cancer treatment or care for post-traumatic stress disorder at Department of Veterans Affairs facilities nationwide.

Child care providers may also offer military and Veteran discounts https://www.childcare.gov/consumer-education/get-help-paying-for-child-care, as well as sliding fee scales that allow families to pay a rate based on their income. To see more government resources available in your state, visit the Office of Child Care’s website by clicking here https://www.childcare.gov/state-resources-home.  

 

Subscribe to our FREE newsletter, Know A Vet LIFE, http://tinyurl.com/y9t3xxk2 for upcoming articles on early childhood education resources, or refer a friend who might find this site helpful. 

Aside from this page, you might want to check out the following additional information: Caregivers; Family & Friends; Family and Relationships; Helping A Vet; Helping You, and Understanding Your Vet.

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