Paying for Child Care
Child care is a necessity for most American families, and an economic hardship for many. In Georgia, more than 511,000 children are in full-time child care. According to the most recent Census data, the average cost of full-time child care for an infant in a child care learning center in Georgia is $7,228; slightly less than tuition and fees and a four-year public college in Georgia which is $7,823. Below you will find resources that may be available to help you subsidize or defray the cost of child care.
Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS)
This program helps eligible Georgia families pay child care cost. The CAPS program was designed to help low income families afford safe quality child care. The CAPS program is administered through The Department of Family and Children Services (DFACS), and is available every Georgia county. Eligibility is based on factors including income level, employment status, and residency. Subsidized child care is available for children birth – 13 years old. (This can be extended to age 18 if the child has special needs.
You may participate in the CAPS program if you have limited income and need child care to work, attend school, or attend training. Participants in the CAPS program still select their own child care provider. The CAPS program will reimburse authorized child care providers directly, up to a pre-determined amount Most eligible families share in the cost of care by paying a fee based on their income and family size.
The Georgia Pre-K program is funded by the Georgia Lottery for Education. Children 4 years of age on September 1 of the current school year are eligible (parents must be Georgia citizens). Because participation in the program is voluntary (NO COST) for both families and communities, there may not be enough space for every four year old to attend.
Head Start and Early Head Start
Head Start (3 years – 5 years) and Early Head Start (birth – 3 years) are federally-funded and comprehensive child development programs that serve children from birth to five, pregnant women, and their families. This program is at NO COST for most families whose incomes meet federal poverty guidelines.
Child Care Program Discounts
Many child care providers will be willing to work with you. They may provide discounts for the enrollment of multiple children, offer a sliding scale, or have scholarships available.
Many employers (or colleges, if you are a student) provide child care scholarships, discounts to certain programs, or on-site child care at reduced rates.
Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
You may be able to lower your taxes and even get up to several thousands of dollars back if you qualify for the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). To qualify you must be working full-time or part-time and make less than a certain amount based upon family size. You don’t have to owe any taxes to get the EITC.
Federal Child Tax Credit
If you have a dependent child under the age 17, you may be eligible to get the Child Tax Credit, which can be worth hundreds of dollars per child. The income limit for the CTC is much higher than for the Earned Income Tax Credit, but you still don’t have to owe taxes to get the Child Tax Credit.
Federal Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit
If you have a child under 13, and owe federal income taxes, the Federal Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit can help cover a portion or all of the taxes you owe if you qualify.