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How to Get Help with Child Care Costs

For many working families, the cost of childcare services is often a difficult financial burden. While grandparents and other family members are often a natural resource for childcare, many families do not have the luxury of turning to a relative for assistance.



In this article, we’ll show you how to get help with childcare via:

  • Cost-saving tips and tricks
  • Government benefits
  • Other financial aid

The cost of childcare services is often so high that in many cases a parent’s entire salary could go toward paying child care expenses. On average, nearly one in three families spend at least 20 percent of their yearly household income on childcare.

Childcare costs can range from $20,000 a year for a quality day care provider to $32,000 for a full-time nanny, according to survey by Care.com. A financial burden on top of spending crucial time away for your child during formative years makes child care decisions among the most difficult that a parent can face regarding their children.

Cost-saving tips and tricks

Childcare can be expensive, but there are a few tips and tricks that can help you manage costs. Here are a few:

  • Set a budget and stick to it
  • Shop around and start early
  • Sign up for a dependent care account through your employer
  • Talk to the Human Resources department at your job


When it comes to childcare, planning in advance will be your best friend. Sit down and create a budget. Determine exactly what you can afford to spend and stick to it. Then, be sure to shop around and don’t wait until it’s too late. Childcare providers usually charge a premium to parents who wait to the last minute to sign up.

Perhaps one of the best-kept childcare secrets is the dependent care account, also known as a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). This type of account is a tax-free withholding that can be used to pay for a plethora of childcare expenses, including day care, preschool and afterschool programs. The IRS allows working families to contribute up to $5,000 a year tax free.

Finally, speak to HR. Employers are starting to recognize the burden childcare places on workers and are implementing programs, such as childcare reimbursements and flexible work schedules.

Government benefits

For low-income families, the federal Childcare and Development Fund provides assistance to low-income families who need child care due to work, work-related training and/or attending school.

To qualify for the program, a person must be a parent or primary caregiver responsible for children under the age of 13 years of age. The person’s financial situation should be considered low or very low income. In order to qualify you must also be either employed or in some States enrolled in a training or education program.

Other financial aid


Individual states also offer financial assistance programs, depending on your income level. The amount may vary depending on a region’s cost of living. California, for example, has what’s known as a “CalWorks” program, where individuals, if they are employed or participating in county approved Welfare-to-Work activities, can receive assistance for child care as well. Contact your county government to learn about childcare options where you live.
Keep in mind, every state receives federal assistance from the federal government to help low-income people with childcare funding.

Jonah Jacobs

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