Clearly, the cost of child care is often the deciding factor in determining if a new parent will stay home or keep working.
Many things are considered in the cost-benefit analysis. Medical benefits, retirement contributions and earning potential all play into this decision. Sometimes however, the main consideration is the hourly rate of child care versus the hourly rate for the parents. Depending on your situation, sometimes the math just doesn’t justify one alternative over the other. Fortunately, there are programs to help when ends don’t meet.
If you need or want to work and need childcare here are some resources to consider:
Apply for CCCAP, If You Qualify
The Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) provides financial child care assistance to working families.
It’s operated through the Colorado Department of Human Services and managed through the El Paso County Office of Early Childhood, Division of Early Care. The CCCAP program provides access to reduced cost child care at licensed facilities or qualified providers for qualifying families. (It is important to note that as of Jan. 1 2018, a waitlist has been enacted for new CCCAP participants. Families in need are still encouraged to apply and teen parents enrolled in high school are exempt from the waitlist).
In El Paso County, families must fall into the following brackets based on monthly income and family size to qualify for the programs:
|House Hold Size||Yearly Income||Monthly Income|
You can apply online here.
Enroll at a Reduced Rate Daycare Center
Some child care centers are specifically available to low income families.
- Community Partnership for Child Development (CPCD) Colorado Springs is a federally funded program that offers part-time care for infants to 3 years old in their Early Head Start program and 3 to 5 year old children in the Head Start Program. No cost for qualifying families. They also run a non-income based program for eligible children in the Colorado Preschool Program. CPCD serves more than 1,800 children in El Paso County in School Districts 2, 3, 8, 11, 20, and 49. For more information or to apply, visit their website here. This program is need based and has a waitlist. Due to high military turnover in the region, however, openings happen monthly, year round. Federal Income Guidelines for CPCD’s programs are the same as CCCAP listed above.
- Early Connections Learning Center is another local option that works with families. They provide full-day, full-time care for children from 6 weeks to 14 years at various facilities. They accept CCCAP and use a sliding income scale to determine the cost of tuition. And they offer some grant opportunities to further reduce the price. On top of providing affordable care, they boast excellent, accredited, high quality education in a safe, secure environment. For enrollment information you and visit their website here.
- Child care for Pike’s Peak Community College students. Enrolled in at least 6 credit hours? Your child may qualify for a daycare facility on campus that operates on a sliding scale for tuition based on income. This facility does allow some non-student community members to enroll based on availability, but it also has a waitlist. A link to their website with rates and the income scale can be found here.
Discounts and Tax Advantages
Unfortunately, if you do not qualify for any of the income-based rate reductions, the options for cost relief are somewhat limited. In most instances, it seems that a sibling, military or employee discount might be your best bet to lower costs.
And try to take advantage of tax incentives.
The recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts kept the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. This can reduce your annual tax burden by $1200-$2100 for two or more people spending at least $6000 per year on childcare. The bill also retained employees’ ability to utilize a benefit many companies offer. This allows them to place up to $5000 pre-tax dollars per year into a flexible spending account for qualified daycare expenses. Finally, it doubled the child care tax credit from $1000 per child to $2000 per child while increasing the salary cap to qualify from $110,000 to $400,000 total annual income.
Also keep an eye out on the progress of H.R. 3773 the “Child Care For Working Families Act” introduced in September 2017
It would provide more federal funding to day care centers to make it possible to cap individual families’ day care costs at no more than 7% of their annual income for families earning up to 150% of their States medium income.
For Colorado, that means any household making less than about $103,000 per year would not pay more than $7,212.00 per year per family for day care. For perspective, one infant in full time day care at an average cost day care center in Colorado Springs now costs a family about $14,700 for their first year.
Know of any other programs or discounts we missed? Feel tell us about them in the comments.