Help with child care costs is available from several sources listed below:

Child Care Assistance Program

The Illinois Department of Human Services provides subsidized child care to qualifying families through the local Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) Agency. This Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) provides low-income, working families with access to quality, affordable child care that allows them to continue working and contribute to the health, emotional and social development of the child. Families are required to cost-share on a sliding scale based on family size, income and number of children in care. For more information and applications for CCAP contact your local CCR&R or use the CCAP Eligibility Calculator.

Subsidized Child Care Alternatives

Federally funded Head Start programs typically provide free half-day school-year care for eligible low-income 3-to-5 year old children. Early Head Start programs serve eligible pregnant women and children up to age 3. Some Head Start programs, including most Early Head Start programs, provide full-day year-round care. Pre-kindergarten programs, sponsored by many public school districts in Illinois, also offer half-day school-year care at no cost to 3-to-5 year olds who meet eligibility guidelines set by each local district.

Employer Supports and Tax Credits

Your employer may have a program to help you with your family's child care needs. Ask your personnel or human resources manager.

You may be eligible for tax credit depending on your annual income and number and age of the children you support. On your federal tax form are Earned Income Credit and Child & Dependent Care Credit lines that you can fill out to lower your taxes or increase your refund. For more information, call 1-800-TAX-1040 or contact your local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Clinic.