How to Apply for a NJ Child Care Subsidy:
There is so much to think about when choosing child care. Balancing location, cost, quality and just feeling good about the child care provider can make this important decision challenging. New Jersey’s child care program under the Department of Human Services, Division of Family Development can provide you with valuable information to help you make that selection. The state’s child care program can support you with information about applying for child care assistance, where to find child care, licensing and complaint data and what makes a quality program.
As so many families know, child care costs can take up a lot of the monthly budget. The Child Care Subsidy Program can help lower-income families who are working, in training or in school or a combination of these activities to pay a portion of their child care.
If you are thinking about or are applying for a child care subsidy, here’s what you need to know.
Applying for a Child Care Subsidy:
As an applicant/parent seeking a child care subsidy, you will be required to provide proof of income, training/school hours and household size to help determine eligibility. All required documents must be submitted to be considered for a subsidy.
Applicant(s)/Parents Eligibility Requirements:
*Must be a New Jersey Resident
*Must meet income requirements and not have assets that exceed $1 million
*Must be working full time (30 hours or more), attending school full time (12 credits or more) or in job training (at least 20 hours a week)
*Depending on family size and income, may have to contribute to the cost of care ( co-pay)
Child Eligibility Requirements:
*Up to the age of 13 or less than age 19 if under the NJ Division of Child Protection and Permanency’s protective supervision or mentally or physically incapable of self-care
*Must be a US Citizen or qualified non-citizens
*Must reside with parent(s) or individual(s) acting as parent(s) (in loco parentis)
Provider Eligibility Requirements:
*Providers must be either a licensed child care provider, a registered family child care provider or a home or summer camp that is approved by the state
*All providers must complete numerous health and safety trainings and required criminal background checks.
Completing and Submitting an Application:
To get started, you must first complete, sign and submit an application with the required documents to the Child Care resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency in your county. For a complete list of required documents, contact your CCR&R or visit http://www.ChildCareNJ.com.
The CCR&R will review application within 10 business days of receiving them and a final determination of eligibility will be made within 45 calendar days. You will receive a letter from the CCR&R telling you if you are eligible, not eligible or if additional information is needed.
You can request an application by visiting or contacting your local CCR&R or printing one at http://www.ChildCareNJ.com.
Before payment can start, you must first be approved and sign the Parent/Applicant and Provider Agreement (PAPA) and e-child Care agreement (ECC).
Parent Co-Payment and Additional Provider Fees:
Families eligible to receive a subsidy are required to share the cost of child care; known as a co-pay. The co-payment is based on your family size, gross annual income, hours of care needed and the number of children in care. Co-pays are paid for the first two children only. The co-pay for any child thereafter will be zero.
Selecting a Child Care Program:
Once your family has been determined eligible to receive child care assistance, you must choose a provider. To make the process move quickly, it is recommended that you find an eligible, quality provider prior to being approved. That means the provider must be licensed, registered or approved by the state.
If you need help finding a child care provider, the CCR&R can provide a list of providers that meet your family’s needs. For a list of CCR&R, visit ww.ChildCareNJ.com or call the NJ Child Care Hotline 1-800-332-9227.
Finding Quality Child Care:
Look for a Grow NJ Kids participating program. Research shows that children who are in quality child care and early learning programs when they are young are better prepared for kindergarten with better reading skills, more math skills and larger vocabularies.
Grow NJ Kids is New Jersey’s program to raise the quality of child care and early learning across the state. It offers child care and early learning providers access to training, professional development, grants for equipment and materials and staff scholarships for continuing education. Professional raters visit the program to review quality standards and then programs receive ratings-up to five stars-by meeting an extensive list of quality benchmarks. Go to GrowNJKids.com to find a participating provider near you.
Social Service Programs with Child Care Components:
There are certain social service programs that include child care. To receive child care through one of the program listed below, you must be participating in that program/service.
*Child Protective Services (CPS)
*Kinship Child Care
*Work First New Jersey (WFNJ)-welfare
*Transitional Child Care (for former WFNJ recipients)
*Post Adoption Child Care
If you are participating in one of these programs and need child care, contact your CCR&R.
Important Information and Community Resources:
The New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Family Development (DHS/DFD) works in partnership with service providers and other state and municipal agencies throughout the state to help families access quality programs and services that meet their needs. You can find more information by visiting http://www.ChildCareNJ.com or at http://www.NJ.gov/humanservies.
Bergen County Office for Children
One Bergen County Plaza
Hackensack, NJ 07601
NJ Department of Human Services
Disclaimer: This information comes from the Bergen County Office for Children and was produced by the NJ DHS Publications Unit and I give them full credit for the information. Please call the above numbers for more information.