Child Care Subsidy
Do you need help paying for child care?
Subsidies to help parents pay for child care are provided for Northampton County residents by Child Care Information Services, Inc. (CCIS) through funds from Pennsylvania's Office of Child Development and Early Learning. CCIS helps families to find child care, determines the families’ eligibility for a child care subsidy, and provides payments to the child care providers.
Parents or guardians of children from birth through 12 years old may qualify for a child care subsidy if the adults in the family are working at least 20 hours per week. Parents who are working at least 10 hours and attending school or training at least 10 hours per week also may
qualify for subsidy. Teen parents qualify if the teens are enrolled in high school.
Families receiving TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) or Food Stamps also may qualify for child care assistance under certain conditions. Families on public assistance must contact their caseworker at the County Assistance Office for eligibility determination.
To apply, your total family income must be less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines. The following chart shows the maximum income allowed by family size:
Yearly Gross Income
(Income guidelines effective May 2016)
If you live in Northampton County and would like to find out if your family may qualify for child care assistance, call Child Care Information Services at 610-419-4500 (Toll-free if out of the area: 1-866-800-3880)
APPLYING FOR SUBSIDY
When you call CCIS, the staff will explain the subsidy program and what documentation you will need to apply, answer any questions you may have, and mail you an application packet. Assistance with completing the application is available if you want. The following information may be requested depending on your situation:
- a form signed by your employer, listing hire date, hours of work each week, hourly rate of pay, how often you are paid, and your specific schedule of work each week
- 4 weeks of pay stubs or pay verification
- verification of child support
- verification of unearned income, such as SSI, unemployment, or public assistance
- verification of enrollment in school/training
- verification of support paid out for children not living in the family
- records of ongoing medical expenses, if medical bills are unusually high
After you have submitted your signed application and provided all the necessary verification, your family's eligibility for child care subsidy will be determined within 30 days, and you will receive a written notification of your eligibility status. A face-to-face interview is required and can be scheduled at our office in Bethlehem.
You also may apply on-line by going to www.compass.state.pa.us/. If you apply on line, CCIS will receive your application on line. CCIS will send you a letter that will tell you what documents you need to send to CCIS for us to complete your application.
Teen parents who are younger than 18 years old are not required to work and must be enrolled in school to qualify for subsidy.
Foster parents are eligible for subsidy if the county has legal custody of their foster child and the parent(s) are employed at least 20 hours per week. Foster parents do not have to meet income requirements; that is, their income does not have to fall within the income guidelines. Foster parents must submit employment verification that includes the hours of work each week.
CHOOSING A CHILD CARE PROVIDER
When you apply for a child care subsidy, you will be given information on the types of child care available and guidelines on how to choose a good child care program for your child, including information about the Keystone Stars program. CCIS can give you referrals to regulated child care providers or you may search for providers on line by going to www.compass.state.pa.us/childcaresearch. You may choose a child care center, family or group child care home. In some cases, you may chose a relative who is a grandparent, aunt, uncle or sibling over age 18 who does not live in your home.
Your child care subsidy may be used at any child care provider who participates in the subsidy program. You also may choose a provider not currently participating in the program as long as that provider is complying with regulations and is willing to sign an Agreement with CCIS.
Funding for subsidy may not be available when you first apply. You will be placed on a waiting list based on the date your application was received. While you are on the waiting list, you must keep CCIS informed of any changes in your situation.
When subsidy is available, but the child care provider you want to use does not have openings, you may need to select another provider. CCIS can assist you with referrals to other programs.
When your child care subsidy is available, CCIS will notify you to determine which child care provider you want to use and to tell you the date the funding will start and what your weekly co-payment will be. You must pay your co-payment to your child care provider each Monday. Failure to pay on time may result in loss of your child care subsidy.
You are responsible for reporting all changes in your situation to CCIS within 10 days of the change. Changes in your address, telephone number, job or training program, income, hours of work or school, or family members may affect your eligibility for subsidy or your co-payment. You are required to complete a redetermination of your eligibility once each year. If you do not complete the necessary redetermination, your eligibility for child care subsidy will end. Failure to report changes or the provision of information that is not true is considered welfare fraud and may result in collection of overpayment and prosecution.
If you want to transfer your subsidy to another child care provider, you may do so after calling CCIS.
If you no longer need child care subsidy, it is important that you notify CCIS immediately. Eligible families on the waiting list then may be offered assistance more quickly.
The subsidized child care program is funded through a contract with the Office of Child Development and Early Learning of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.