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Income Eligible Child Care Subsidy - Massachusetts

Families are eligible for subsidized child care if they meet EEC's income eligibility requirements and have a reason for needing child care. This reason is called a service need. The service need is defined as the amount of time (during which subsidized child care is available) that neither parent is available to care for the child because they are:

          beginning or continuing paid employment; or

          seeking paid employment; or

          participating in education or training (not including graduate school); or

          are incapacitated.

In addition, a child with a disability also meets the service need criteria for full-time care, whether or not the parents are available to provide care. However, in home or relative caregivers will not be reimbursed for care of a child whose service need is disability.

An income eligible child care subsidy is available to eligible parents for care by a contracted, voucher, or in home or relative child care provider. This subsidy is available as long as appropriated funds are available to pay for it and a provider who has an opening appropriate for the age and needs of the child in need of care is available. Otherwise, a child will be placed on a waitlist for the child care subsidy.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for an Income Eligible Child Care Subsidy, parents must meet both income eligibility and service need requirements (see above) established by EEC.

Financial Requirements

Income eligibility is based on the income and the size of the family. Families headed by caretakers are exempt from financial eligibility guidelines.

Families with an incapacitated parent or a child with special needs are financially eligible for the Income Eligible Child Care Program provided that their gross monthly income is at or below 85% of the State Median Income as determined by EEC at the time of enrollment. Financial eligibility will continue until the familyís income reaches 100% of the State Median Income as determined by EEC. The incapacity of a parent and the special needs of a child must be documented as required by EEC policy.

Families who do not have an incapacitated parent or a child with special needs are financially eligible for the Income Eligible Child Care Program provided that their gross monthly income is at or below 50% of the State Median Income as determined by EEC at the time of enrollment. Financial eligibility will continue until the familyís income reaches 85% of the State Median Income as determined by EEC.

When determining financial eligibility relevant income includes, but is not limited to, wages or salary (including overtime), social security benefits, alimony, child support, and public assistance.

Service Need Requirements

Except when requesting a subsidy for a child with special needs, both parents living in the household must document either a part time or full time service need. Activities acceptable for establishing a service need are: seeking paid employment for a maximum of eight weeks; paid employment; maternity leave from paid employment for a maximum of eight weeks; participating in education or training; or incapacity of the parent.

Parents who document a full time service need will be eligible for full time child care. Parents who document a part time service need will be eligible for part time child care.

Parents with a full or part time child care subsidy for work, education or training who lose their job or finish their education or training and are actively seeking employment will qualify for the equivalent full or part time service need for a period of job search not to exceed eight weeks in a 52 week period. An additional four weeks may be available in accordance with EEC policy.

Parents who have not been receiving a child care subsidy and are actively seeking employment will qualify for a full time service need for a period of job search not to exceed eight weeks in a 52 week period.

Parents will qualify for a service need of education or training if they are enrolled in and attending any of the following: a full time high school program; a high school equivalency program; a vocational training program, not including graduate, medical or law school; an ESL program; or an accredited college or university, leading to an Associateís or a Bachelorís degree.

Work and education or training may be combined to meet service need requirements. Up to five hours of travel time per week may be added to a parentís service need when required for travel between the child care program and the parentís service need activity. Children with documented special needs meet the service need criterion for full time care, whether or not the parents are available to provide care.

Eligibility Determination

An EEC Designated Authority will make eligibility determinations based on the parent(s) application.

Application

Parents may apply for an income eligible child care subsidy at a contracted child care program or at a Child Care Resource and Referral agency. At the time of application and at each subsequent reassessment, parents must complete and sign a child care application and fee agreement.

Documentation

At the time of application parents must submit documentation that verifies their income, service need, residence and relationship to all children and dependent grandparents in the family. At each reassessment, parents much submit documentation that verifies their income and service need.

Referral and Enrollment

Child Care Resource and Referral Agency (CCR&R)

Based on availability, the CCR&R must: 1) refer the eligible parent to a contracted child care provider who has an opening appropriate for the age and needs of the child in need of care; or 2) issue a voucher to the eligible parent that may be used toward payment of a voucher child care provider; or 3) enter the child on the waitlist for a child care subsidy.

Contracted Provider

Based on availability, the contracted provider must: 1) enroll the eligible child in his/her child care program if a contract slot appropriate to the age and needs of the child exists; or 2) if an appropriate contract slot does not exist, refer the parent to the regional Child Care Resource and Referral agency; and enter the child on the waitlist for a child care subsidy.

Parent Choice

Parents may not be required to enroll their children at a particular child care program. Upon two weeks notice, parents may choose to withdraw their children from one child care program and enroll in another available program for the duration of the child care subsidy.

Advance Enrollment

Eligible children may be enrolled in care one week prior to the start of the parentís service need, when appropriate.

See also

Child Care - Overview - Massachusetts

Child Care - Program Types - Massachusetts

Child Care - Frequently Asked Questions - Massachusetts

Child Care - Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Definitions - Massachusetts

Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (CCR&R) - Massachusetts

Source

102 CMR 10.00: Department of Early Education and Care, from PDF document (requires Adobe Acrobat) at:
http://www.eec.state.ma.us/docs/sub_cc_regs.pdf


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