The “voucher” program

Financial assistance for early education and childcare

All financial assistance for early childcare and education is managed through the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), who provides assistance for those families in need.   In order to be eligible for funding, you and your family must meet certain income and activity requirements and, if funding is not immediately available, you may be placed on waiting list.

To meet the income requirement, your household income must initially be at or below 50% of the state median income (SMI). Note that all parents and/or guardians in the household must also meet certain activity requirements; i.e. they must be working, looking for a job (for up to 8 weeks), or be enrolled in school for at least 20 hours per week.

If you or your child has a documented disability or special need, your household income must initially be at or below 85% of the SMI.

If the parent/guardian is receiving cash assistance from the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) they may qualify for free or low-cost child care. Contact your DTA case worker to see if you meet the criteria.

Use the SMI Income Eligibility chart to see if your household income is within limits.*

Note that in most cases, the voucher only covers part of the childcare costs. Parents may still need to pay some tuition based upon income and family size.

How to Apply:


– If eligible, the DTA case worker will issue a Child Care Referral. The parent then selects a child care provider and makes an appointment to see a Parent Specialist at the Child Care Resource and Referral Agency, click here for Child Care Providers.

STEP 2 – The Parent Specialist will write the voucher and notify the child care provider that the State will make full or partial tuition payment for the child. In some cases, parents/guardians must pay a parent fee based on income or family size.

STEP 3 – A voucher appointment can not be scheduled until the Child Care Referral has been received by the CCR&R and the child care provider has been selected by the parent/guardian.


– Contact P.A.C.E. Child Care Works to schedule an appointment.

STEP 2 – At this appointment you will complete an application and provide documents that verify your eligibility for child care financial assistance.  

STEP 3 – If eligible and funding is available, you will receive a letter advising which type of program you are receiving:

• An income eligible contracted slot available through a specific program, or
• A voucher available through P.A.C.E. that can be used at any program that can accept state subsidy payments

You must call within 15 days of receiving the letter to let the EEC know if you are still interested. It is important to call quickly because other families are waiting for a space as well. Be sure to tell the EEC if you have other children that need care, because there might be funding for them too.