How to get daycare assistance in Oregon
Daycare is expensive, and many families in today’s economy can’t afford to work. There is help. By applying for daycare assistance with DHS, or the Department of Human Services, families can be evaluated by a case manager to see if they qualify for any assistance in paying for the daycare needed for their children.
Where do you start? The DHS website is an excellent starting point. There, you can learn the steps you need to follow in order to be considered for daycare assistance.
Families can qualify if the total household income falls below 185% of the Federal Poverty Level. Eligibility also depends on total income of a family, the amount of family members, the area the family lives in, and whether or not it is necessary for the children to remain in care in order for the parents to stay employed. A downloadable application for daycare assistance can be found on the Child Care Subsidy Page.
Most families who qualify will have to pay a co-pay to the daycare provider of their choice. For example, if you have a $100 co-pay, it must be paid to your provider each month before DHS will cover the rest of your benefits. Another thing you will need to know is that if your benefits and co-pay aren’t enough to cover your monthly daycare bill, you will be responsible for the rest. There is a common misconception here. If your daycare provider bills $500 for the month, and your co-pay is $100, but you only qualify for $200 in daycare assistance, that leaves a balance of $200 owed to your daycare provider to cover the month. That balance is your responsibility to cover.
Daycare assistance isn’t designed to give you free daycare, it’s designed to assist you in the burden of paying for it. Daycare is expensive, and every penny counts when you live under the Federal Poverty Line. DHS also allows you to choose your own Daycare Provider as long as they’re 18 years of age or older, and have passed a criminal background check. Registered Providers and DaycareCenters are also allowed, although not all Providers or Centers accept DHS subsidy.
For more information, contact your local DHS office.