Child Care Payment Assistance

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Who is eligible?

  • Parents applying for the Smart Steps program whose income is below the 85th percentile of State Median Income  (which can be found on the Income Eligibility and Parent Co-Pay Fee Table using the 85.0% line that coincides with your household size) who have children six (6) weeks to five (5) years old and who work or go to school, or both, for 30 hours or more a week.
  • High school or middle school mothers who stay in school who participate in the Teen Parent program.
  • Parents in the Families First program who need child care to complete the work activities in their personal responsibility plan.
  • Parents whose Families First case has closed can receive transitional child care assistance for 18 months after their Families First case closes IF each parent works 30 hours or more a week.
  • Non-parental guardians in the Families First program who need child care for a related child IF the guardian does 30 or more hours of work, training, or education a week.


How do I apply?

Apply Online through the One DHS Customer Portal by clicking here.

Or complete the application below and then fax it, mail it, or bring it to your local TDHS office.

If you have questions about child care payment assistance, child care staff are located at these TDHS offices to help you.

Application for Child Care Payment Assistance/Smart Steps  (HS-3408) - Instructions
Application for Child Care Payment Assistance/Smart Steps (Spanish) (HS-3408sp) - Instructions
Application for Child Care Payment Assistance/Smart Steps (Arabic) (HS-3408a) - Instructions
Application for Child Care Payment Assistance/Smart Steps (Somali) (HS-3408s)Instructions

**Make sure you submit all required verification documents with your application. The required documents are listed on the first page of the application above**

If you are applying for child care payment assistant through Families First, you will not use the above application, but will apply through the Families First link at the top of this page.


Should you have any questions, you may contact the Child Care Customer Service Response team at 1-833-740-1440.


How do I find a child care provider?

Click here to search by county. The providers that accept child care payment assistance are listed as “Yes” under the “Child Care Assistance” column.


If I qualify, what will I have to pay?

The co-pay chart estimates your payment based on your income and the number of children you will have in child care. You will receive an exact amount that you will have to pay if you qualify. It’s important that you pay the amount you owe and don’t miss payments. Your child care provider may terminate your child from their program if you don’t pay the amount you owe.

Are there are other helpful resources?

You can learn more here about how to choose the right child care provider, the types of child care providers in the State, and how the State assesses child care providers. You can also learn about the importance of checkups and developmental screening for children.

You can learn more here about tips for safe sleep for babies.

Also, if you are interested in child care payment assistance, you may also be eligible for one or more of these programs to assist you with your other needs.


Customer Survey

Please take a moment to let us know about your experience applying for child care payment assistance.