Child care subsidy is an important revenue source for child care partners, and can make or break your Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) fiscal approach. Understanding how subsidy works in your state is critical for your program design planning, because subsidy will be one of the revenue sources that will cover the total cost to provide quality care in your community. EHS programs and child care partners should consider subsidy alongside other revenue sources (e.g., EHS funding, QRIS, parent fees, Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)) to successfully navigate fiscal design.
There are some aspects of child care subsidy that vary state to state – for example, income eligibility, participation requirements, and payments to providers. Becoming familiar with the policies in your state will allow you to anticipate challenges and plan for fiscal bumps in the road. We’ve learned some states are more subsidy friendly than others. In subsidy friendly states you might find that co-pay requirements are waived for families in EHS, subsidy access is prioritized for infants/toddlers enrolled in EHS-CCP, and the state department managing subsidies sends timely and clear communications to providers and families. You may consider contacting the agency in your state that administers child care subsidy to learn more information.
Once you have a solid understanding of child care subsidy in your state, a tool we recommend is A Fiscal Management Checklist for Partnerships from the Office of Head Start (OHS). This is a checklist that walks you through important fiscal issues to be addressed between partners. There is a section of the tool dedicated specifically to child care subsidy.
Remember, child care subsidy is an important revenue source to cover the cost of quality in EHS – Child Care Partnerships. Start with information gathering and learn the policies and practices in your state, and then think about what tools you can use to ensure subsidy is an ongoing part of fiscal conversations.
Foundations for Families offers EHS-CCP grantees targeted technical assistance and strength-based coaching of key start-up staff. We have helped multiple organizations design, plan for, and draft successful proposals for the first round of EHS-CCP and plan to offer the same expertise for any new opportunities. Please be in touch with Amy Augenblick, Executive Director, at 703-599-4329 or Augenblick@foundationsforfamilies.com to learn about how we can support you and your program.