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Child Care Assistance Program

Subsidies can help pay child care providers (formerly "day care providers") for the time that parents/caretakers are at work or engaged in other qualifying activity, plus reasonable travel time each way.


Eligibility

Note:  If you are currently receiving Temporary Assistance, please check with your worker to find out if you are eligible to have your child care expenses paid from your existing case!

Child care subsidies are available to working families who earn up to 300% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) for their household size.

The following table shows the income limits that apply as of August 1st of 2022:

300% Federal Poverty Level table

Subsidies may also be available to families that are:

  • participating in a qualifying educational program
  • homeless
  • victims of domestic violence
  • parent(s) is(are) participating in a qualified substance abuse treatment program
  • foster parents who work

Families in other circumstances may also qualify for a child care subsidy.  Contact us (by phone at 607-274-5612 or email) to find out how we can help!


Family Share

Families eligible for child care subsidies obliged to pay directly to their child care provider a weekly family share.  Weekly family share is calculated by taking the portion of the household’s annual gross income that is *above the Federal Poverty Level*, multiplying by 10% and dividing by 52 weeks.

Federal poverty level

The minimum weekly family share is generally $1.00; however, some households' circumstances exempt them from paying any family share at all.  Some examples are:  families that are homeless, have child protective/preventive cases, or have only temporary custody/guardianship of a child.


How to apply

There are three ways to obtain an application to receive a child care subsidy.

1. Click here to download the State application in the form of a PDF file (unfortunately not 'fillable'; it will need to be printed out.)
2. Call us at 607-274-5612 to request that a hardcopy application to be mailed to you.
3. Pick up an application in person at the Reception window of the county's Human Services Building in downtown Ithaca (the street address is 320 W. Martin Luther King, Jr./State Street; but our public parking lot is on Seneca Street between Albany and Plain.)           

Instructions for completing the application can be downloaded as a Word document from NYS Office of Children and Family Services here.

Important note #1:  In addition to the completed application, you will also need to provide copies of several types of supporting documentation.  The current list can be accessed from our website as a Word document here.

Important note #2:  Working parents will also need to submit an Employment Information Form completed by their employer.

You can submit completed applications and required documentation in three ways:

1. Drop off at the county's Human Services Building.
2. Email:  (click this link)
3. Mail to:   
      Low-Income Child Care Assistance Unit
      Tompkins County DSS
      320 West MLK Jr./State Street
      Ithaca, NY 14850


Additional information

For help finding a child care provider, please contact the Child Development Council at 607-273-0259 or visit the 'find child care' page of their website.

If you're interested in becoming a child care provider, the Child Development Council can help.   Call 607-273-0259 or visit the 'providers' page of their website.

For additional information on subsidized child care, please visit the NYS Office of Children and Family Services' website: https://ocfs.ny.gov/programs/childcare/.