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6 Free Daycare & Childcare Assistance Programs

6 Free Daycare & Childcare Assistance Programs

Looking to find some free daycare? You’re in luck! There are government, community and private solutions for free daycare and childcare assistance available to moderate and low-income families in nearly every state, territory and tribal region, even during the Coronavirus Pandemic.  Here are just a few of the top resources available to families looking for free daycare and childcare assistance.


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CCDF Voucher

For low-income parents who need free daycare in order to work or attend job training/school, a Federal block grant program called the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF), offers a voucher subsidy program to pay for childcare. The program is federally funded, but administered by each state, territory or tribe. Those who qualify for CCDF assistance will receive a voucher to pay for childcare at CCDF-approved facilities. Each state, territory or tribe will have slightly different qualifications, but in general, parents or custodians must be able to prove they are low-income and the primary care-givers for children under the age of 13, or children under 19 if the child is incapable of self-care.

Parents can apply for CCDF assistance with their State or Territorial Child Care Subsidy Agency here or Tribal Child Care Subsidy Agency here.


Head Start and Early Head Start

Head Start and Early Head Start are free federally-funded programs serving low income children and families. Head Start serves families with children aged three to five years, and Early Head Start serves pregnant women and families with children under the age of three. The hours of operation for both programs vary by state, but many are even available in summer. Children enrolled in Head Start and Early Head Start will receive educational preparation for Kindergarten, as well as free healthy meals and snacks, and some medical and dental care. Openings for these programs may be limited.

To apply for Head Start or Early Head Start, parents need to use the Head Start Center Locator here to find their nearest provider and contact them.



Many local YMCA’s offer free childcare after-school programs to families that qualify. Each YMCA is independent, so programs and qualifications will vary. In Massachusetts, a governor’s order recently expanded the availability of free daycare at Massachusetts YMCA to include regular school-hours for additional childcare relief for students studying remotely. Your nearest YMCA will have more information on what is available in your area, and can be located here.

College/University Programs

Many colleges and universities offer free or reduced-cost childcare for students attending their programs directly through the institution or through a state-sponsored subsidy. If you are attending a college or university program, contact your advisor to inquire about options.

Some of the best programs we’ve found that serve parents enrolled in college or university program are:

The Oregon Student Child Care Grant

University of Utah Center for Child Care and Family Resources

Child Care Aware

Child Care Aware can direct you to your nearest Child Care Resource & Referral, or CCR&R, organization. CCR&R’s act as a directing intermediary agent for parents in many states who are seeking free or reduced rate childcare. Most CCR&Rs are funded jointly by the city, county, or state; federal dependent-care funds, and charitable organizations. There are more than 300 CCR&R organizations nationwide, so parents in need of their help need to contact their nearest CCR&R. This information can be found through Child Care Aware’s search tool here.

Military families seeking childcare assistance are served by branch-specific organizations, which can also be found through Child Care Aware here.


Tax Credits

Parents who make too much to qualify for other programs may get help covering childcare expenses through the Child Tax Credit or Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. The Child Tax Credit is a refundable tax credit that is worth up to $2,000 per qualifying child and $500 per qualifying dependent. The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit can reduce your tax liability by crediting 20%-35% of up to $3,000 of childcare expenses for a child under the age of 13, an incapacitated spouse or parent, or another dependent so that you can work. You can qualify for one or both credits, and there is no application needed to apply. To qualify, you must file taxes following these guidelines for the Child Tax Credit here and The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit here. 

Childcare resources are important

In a Fall 2020 Childcare Survey conducted by, 90 percent of working parents reported that “access to quality, affordable child care is essential” for them to find and retain employment, placing even greater importance on the availability of these free and low-cost care and assistance programs. This list is by no means every program available. If you are in need of more assistance, you can contact 2-1-1 for additional local resources.

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Tired momma

Tuesday 1st of December 2020

What about disabled moms who are with a special needs child 24/ 7 with my partner who works out side of the home.with no breaks& not getting any medical care because of this covid crap? Im exhausted& our child is no longer in pt, sp each, ot&they closed schools she never even got to go to were even having more special needs be's driving us crazy.if we could have her in a safe mask free autism place that would respect our rights& her rights& give her the treatment she desperately been get her out of the me.the sole provider.a break.and her a break from would help tremdulosy...also to have a in care worker come here to help 3-4 days a week to help with her& to keep her on get a routine goin.i have alot if health issues.and its very diffucult for me to function at would help me to foucus on my medical needs& I need someone to drive me& my child to doctor appointments to.....we live in Michigan.its been very difficult to get any help.the dhs is not helpful at all out here.they could care less& managers are the worse in Wayne county.flint is worse.we've reached out to different areas & its the same return calls.we cant help you.we dont no the rules are the wuestions to ask & they take advtange of disabled people like me. While tge healthy girl with 3,4,5 kuds by 3,4, 5 different guys partying & abusing tge sytom& she knows the sytom like the back of her hand. Is getting every single benefit there is. Again a school/no mask/supreme over ruled it. In care worker& driver to dimic apot for both of us. Someone to help make appointments& stand up to these lazy crook doctors& all benefits we qualify for.thanks so much.just needed to get this out.