It is said that one of the best decisions a single parent can ever make is choosing a quality childcare plan. This is because childcare goes a long way in reducing the burden on your shoulders, giving room for work, and enough Me-time. The only problem is that childcare costs can be expensive to a single mom on a limited budget. Depending on the type of care provided, city resident in and the age of the child, fees for full-time care can go as high as $24000 yearly. So you may be wondering what kind of help with childcare a single mother can receive?
This guide gives an insight into some of the federal and private programs that can help with childcare costs.
Head Start is a program administered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Children from birth to ages five who come from families whose income is deemed to be below the poverty level are qualified for Head Start and Early Head Start services. Some of the programs offered to low-income families are early childhood education, healthcare, nutritional support, and parental services. Single mothers already receiving Supplemental Security Income, TANF, or are homeless may also qualify.
You can find a Head Start Office near you by visiting https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/center-locator or dial (886)-763-6481 for more information and application details.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
The TANF program gives temporary financial help to families with one or more dependent children, and pregnant women are also eligible. The goal is to help families attain self-sufficiency. Each state receives grant funds to provide families with support services. Funds may be used to cover childcare costs, help with job preparation, or general work support. Get more information at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ofa/programs/tanf
Child Tax Credit
The Child Tax Credit is a tax credit given to families with young children or dependents. Children must be below the ages of 17 for you to qualify. The credit is worth $2000 per dependent. Eligible applicants must file for the CTC on Form 1040, line 12a, or on Form 1040NR, line 49. Find more details at https://smartasset.com/taxes/all-about-child-tax-credits
Child support could be another way of reducing childcare costs. Every single mother, by law, can claim child support from the father of the child for child maintenance. State and local authorities handle most child support cases. Some agencies, like the National Child Support Enforcement Agency https://www.ncsea.org can also be vital when it comes to child support matters. Office of Child Support Enforcement can help in ensuring that you are paid all child support allocations. Find out more at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/css
Most states have childcare programs that can assist a working or student single mom. Costs are shared between the state and also from the income of the mother. It is important to note that every state has different prerequisites before you can apply.
Some popular criteria are
° Your child is younger than 13 years.
° You do not meet the income limit for childcare set by your state.
° Childcare is needed for you to attend school, work, or receive training.
° Your ward has special needs or is under supervision by the court.
There is usually a waiting list that may not allow eligible families to receive this support. To see some of your state’s resources, visit https://www.childcare.gov/index.php/state-resources-home
Several states have Prekindergarten programs that aim to prepare children between the ages of 3 and 4 for kindergarten. The main focus has been early education and school readiness. Eligible families could receive this at little or no cost at all. It may be a part-day or full-day program. You can find your state-funded Prekindergarten programs at https://www.childcareaware.org/resources/ccrr-search-form/
Employer Assisted Childcare
Your employer may have specific programs that allow you to put away a portion of your salary into a particular fund dedicated to childcare. The funds can only be used to pay for childcare and will not be taxed by the government. Some companies may even offer onsite child services to employees. Contact your Human Resources department to find out what plans may be available to you.
Help from local organizations
Local groups such as religious institutions, private centers, or community-based programs may have lesser fees for single-parent families. You could also research some low-cost centers in your community. Family Child Care Homes generally offer child services at lower prices than regular childcare homes. You could obtain a list of childcare centers from your CCR&R and visit the facility. https://www.childcareaware.org/providers/
Child Care Aware of America
The Child Care Aware of America group works with more than 400 child resources centers. They could help you locate a quality, safe, and affordable childcare office within your locality. It is a link that connects parents and providers across the country. You can reach them on (800)-424-2246 or visit their website at https://www.childcareaware.org