Child care can be difficult to afford, even if you have a good job. There are some ways to get help or reduce your expenses. If you live in Chatham, Harnett, Johnston, Lee or Wayne Counties in North Carolina, call Child Care Search at 1-855-231-8717 for information on how to find resources specific to your county.
Some types of assistance that may be available in your area are:
- Child Care Subsidy through your local Department of Social Services. See if you meet the requirements. There is sometimes a waiting list for child care subsidy, because there are not enough funds for all eligible families.
- Head Start and Early Head Start. These preschool programs are free to eligible families and serve children ages birth to 5.
- North Carolina Pre-K. This is a free statewide preschool program for at-risk children who turn 4 by August 31. (Click here for Chatham County’s NC Pre-K program or here for the state website).
- Employee and student assistance programs. Ask your employer or the school/college you attend if they offer any help paying for child care. Some employers offer a flexible spending account, which allows you to pay for child care with pre-tax dollars.
- Military child care programs. If you or your spouse serves in the military, you may be eligible for military child care assistance. To find out more, click here.
- Scholarships and sliding fee scales. Some child care programs offer scholarships or charge families based on ability to pay. Parent counselors at Child Care Search (1-855-231-8717) can search our database for child care programs that offer these.
- Tax credits. North Carolina and the federal government both offer tax credits for children and/or child care expenses. These credits can help you “get back” some of the money you paid for child care during the previous year. Check with your tax preparer or visit NC Department of Revenue and the IRS.