The Basic Sliding Fee program can help families pay for child care while they look for work, go to work, or attend training or school to prepare for work.
Some counties may have a waiting list for this program. Counties get a set amount of money to use each year. It is provided on a first come-first served basis until funds are allocated fully. Additional applicants are put on a waiting list. If more funds become available, the county will contact you.
The program helps families pay for child care for:
Children 12 or younger
Children 14 or younger who have special needs.
To qualify, families applying for Basic Sliding Fee must have gross annual income that is at or below the entrance level. Once a family is determined eligible, their gross annual income must be at or below the 85% exit level for their household size during their 12-month eligibility period. At redetermination, a family’s gross annual income cannot exceed the 67% exit level. A family's gross income can be reduced by allowing for certain verified deductions, such as child support paid out and medical and dental premiums. These amounts are effective October 2, 2023.
Annual Income Entrance Level
Annual Income 67% Exit Level (at redetermination)
Annual Income 85% Exit Level (during eligibility period)
In addition, families must:
Participate in authorized activities including work, looking for work or attending school
Cooperate with child support requirements for any children who have a parent living outside their home.
Choose an eligible child care provider who is registered with the county where you reside.
Eligible child care providers
You may choose a child care center or a family child care home. Family or friends who meet certain requirements can also be child care providers through the child care assistance program. The provider you choose must register with the county where you live. The Child Care Provider Guide (PDF) explains what child care providers need to know in order to register and be paid to care for children through the child care assistance program.
Your child care worker will follow program rules to determine the amount of child care assistance for which you qualify. The number of hours is determined by your:
work, training or school schedule
child's school schedule
other factors including travel time.
You can also receive child care assistance while you look for work. You can get assistance as long as you need it, if you continue to follow all program rules.
There are maximum amounts per hour, day or week that child care assistance can pay the child care provider you choose. If child care assistance doesn't cover the provider's usual rate, the provider may charge you the difference. In addition, providers who meet certain quality standards can be paid 15 percent (PDF) or 20 percent (PDF) more. Search for a provider who meets quality standards.
Lastly, most families have to pay a portion of the child care cost, called a copayment. The copay amount (PDF) is based on your family's size and income.