Fact Checked

What is a Child Care Subsidy?

Carol Francois
Carol Francois

A child care subsidy is typically arranged through a government agency, charitable organization, or employer. The primary purpose of this type of subsidy is to decrease the cost of child care to the family, while providing full payment to the child care provider. This type of program is growing in popularity and is expected to continue to grow over the next 10 years.

In order to obtain a child care subsidy, parents are required to complete an application form. Although each agency will have different application requirements, the information requested is very similar. For example, most forms will require information on the total family income, number and age of children, and any pre-existing health conditions. Once the form is completed, this information is considered confidential.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

The most generous child care subsidy programs are typically offered by government agencies. However, the requirements to access these programs are quite strict. Information about both parents must be included and details about current employment, training program enrollment, or health conditions are required. The purpose of these questions is to determine eligibility and total amount of subsidy required.

It is important to note that additional forms are often required during the course of the subsidy. Full-time child care is typically required from 6 months to 5 years. Part-time care is standard for school-aged students, up to 10 years of age. The length of subsidy eligibility varies by program, district, and local economic policies.

Charitable organizations that offer a child care subsidy often have a volunteering requirement. Parents are expected to provide a minimum number of hours of support to the child care facility during the course of the year. Many parents meet this obligation through the organization of a fund-raising activity, such as a jumble sale, fun fair, or bingo night.

A growing number of employers offer child care subsidies to employees. The subsidy is often arranged through a specific child care facility that is located on the premises, and may even be owned by the company. The added convenience and reduced costs is a great benefit to employees and can help companies retain star performers.

It has been long recognized that the lack of suitable child care is the primary barrier to women entering the workforce after having children. The costs associated with child care subsidies are tiny when compared with the earning capacity of working woman. The more support provided to families, the better it can be for the entire community.

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