More About Child Care Payment Assistance

The Department of Human Services provides financial help for child care costs for families with low incomes through various assistance programs. To apply for the service, contact the local Department of Human Services office. Some assistance requires a co-payment.

If a parent is eligible for one of the programs, any type of child care can be used by the parents (both regulated and unregulated). However, the chosen provider must be enrolled in the certificate payment program. Payment rates are established by the Department and agreed to by the provider.

  • Families First Child Care Assistance. Parents participating in the Families First program who need child care to complete the work activities in their personal responsibility plan can receive financial assistance with the cost of child care. Families First parents do not pay a parent co-pay in this program. Eligibility is based on Families First income guidelines.
  • Transitional Child Care Assistance. Parents whose Families First case has closed are potentially eligible for 18 months of transitional child care assistance. Each parent must meet a work activity requirement of 30 hours per week in order to be eligible for this program. Parents must pay a co-pay fee based on a sliding income scale.
  • At-Risk Child Only. Non-parental guardians who are receiving Families First for a related child may be eligible for this child care assistance. Eligible guardians must pay a co-pay fee based on a sliding income scale and must participate in 30 hours of work, training or education weekly.
  • Smart Steps Child Care Payment Assistance.  This program was established to provide child care payment assistance to working families or those pursuing post-secondary educational goals. The family must pay a co-pay fee based on a sliding income scale. The program is for children six (6) weeks to kindergarten and only TDHS licensed or DOE approved care may be utilized.
  • Teen Child Care Assistance. This program is for eligible high school or middle school mothers. These young mothers must stay in school in order to receive child care assistance. Parents must pay a co-pay fee based on a sliding income scale.