Help Paying for Child Care
Many Indiana families are eligible for financial help paying for early childhood programs.
Below, you can check CCDF, On My Way Pre-K and Head Start/Early Head Start. These programs have varying eligibility, but all help families give their children solid educational starts.
Beyond the resources below, many providers offer sliding scale fees, based on income. Several providers across the state are also able to provide scholarships for families seeking financial help. As you consider early education and school-age programs, don’t forget to ask about discounts!
Child Care & Development Fund - CCDF
The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) is a federal program that helps low-income families get child care so that they may work, attend training or continue their education. In Indiana, CCDF is managed by the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) in the Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning.
To apply for the CCDF voucher program, you can visit EarlyEdConnect.FSSA.IN.gov or contact your local intake agent.
Families currently receiving CCDF can access the Indiana e-Child Care website. The website offers hands-on, user-friendly information to Indiana families who receive CCDF services including case information, voucher information, child attendance, payments received by child care providers and the opportunity to approve or deny late attendance.
- Be working or going to school, or have a referral from the Department of Child Services (DCS) or TANF/IMPACT.
- Be within federal income guidelines.
- Have proof of identity for all family members.
- Be a resident of the county where you are applying for assistance.
- Children receiving care must be a U.S. Citizen or qualified legal alien and 12 years of age or younger unless they have special needs.
To find an early childhood or school-age program that matches your family’s needs and accepts CCDF vouchers, call the Brighter Futures Indiana staff at 1-800-299-1627, open a chat conversation below during normal business hours, visit Child Care Finder online or reach out to your local child care resource and referral agency.
Reimbursement rates for CCDF vouchers vary by county. Early childhood providers who achieve higher levels on Indiana’s Paths to QUALITY system are reimbursed at higher rates.
On My Way Pre-K
On My Way Pre-K awards grants to 4-year-olds from low-income families so that they may have access to a high-quality pre-K program the year before they begin kindergarten. Families who receive a grant may use the grant at any approved On My Way Pre-K program.
On My Way Pre-K applications are now available for grants to eligible children who will be 4 years old, but not yet 5 years old on August 1, 2022, and will be attending kindergarten in the 2022-12 school year. These grants will be good for pre-K programs starting in August 2022. Grants will be awarded until all available slots have been filled — families are encouraged to apply early to secure their grant!
Visit EarlyEdConnect.FSSA.IN.gov to apply online.
Families living in ANY county in Indiana and meeting the following eligibility requirements will be eligible:
- Child must be 4 but not yet 5 years old by August 1, 2022.
- Child must be a resident of Indiana.
- Parents/guardians in the household must have a service need (working, going to school, attending job training).
- Families must earn less than 127% of federal poverty level. FPL information is available by clicking here.
To participate in On My Way Pre-K, programs must meet CCDF eligibility requirements. Community-based and public (including charter) schools must be rated at level 3 or 4 on Paths to QUALITY. Private or non-public schools must be accredited by a regional or national approved State Board of Education accrediting body. All programs must be located in a pilot county.
Visit the On My Way Pre-K search on Child Care Finder to explore participating programs. If programs from your county do not appear, please click on the “your location” tab in the upper right hand corner of the webpage and enter your zip code. For more provider information call the Brighter Futures Indiana staff at 1-800-299-1627.
Head Start & Early Head Start
Head Start is a federal program that promotes the school readiness of children under five from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social and emotional development. Head Start programs provide a learning environment that supports children’s growth in many areas such as language, literacy and social-emotional development. Head Start emphasizes the role of parents as their children’s first and most important teachers. These programs help build relationships with families that support family well-being and many other important areas.
Early Head Start programs serve infants, toddlers and pregnant women and their families who have incomes below the federal poverty level. Early Head Start programs were established in recognition of the mounting evidence that the earliest years matter a great deal to a child’s growth and development.
Find a Head Start program near you
To find a Head Start or Early Head Start program near you, call 866-763-6481 (toll-free) or visit the online Head Start finder.
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