A recent report published by the Economic Policy institute reveals that Colorado is among the highest in the nation for child care costs. Infants alone cost an average of $15,325 a year for child care. That translates to $1,277 a month.
The median income for a family with children in Colorado is $73,048 a year. This means families with children are spending 20 percent of their income on childcare, and this applies if the family has only one child.
State and federal financial assistance programs can alleviate the burden of childcare for low-income families. Keep reading to learn how to prepare for financial assistance programs.
Financial Assistance Programs In Colorado
Colorado financial assistance programs can alleviate the stress of child care costs in several ways. Colorado offers the following programs for child care assistance:
- Child care subsidies: Low-income families can receive vouchers or fee assistance to help with child care costs.
- Head Start and Early Head Start: These programs offer pre-school opportunities to families who cannot afford private preschool. Low-income families can give their kids a great start with the proper social, mental, and emotional development offered by Head Start and Early Head Start-Child Care.
- State-funded pre-K: Colorado has the Colorado Preschool Program or CPP to ensure all kids are ready for school. Find your local contact on the CPP Family Contact Directory.
- Military fee assistance: If your family is in the military, you may qualify for the military fee assistance program. This program offers childcare assistance to members of the branches of the military. The amount of help offered differs for each branch.
Families do not have to wonder how to pay for their child care any longer with the variety of assistance programs available.
Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP)
When you're looking for work or working a low-paying job, you cannot always afford the expense of childcare. Furthermore, if you're in the process of searching for a home or if you're a full-time student taking classes, you still need childcare even though you do not have the means to pay for it. If you're struggling to pay for child care, the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program may be able to help you.
Also, if you're enrolled in the Colorado Works Program, you qualify for CCCAP services.
Each county's Department of Social and Human Services along with the Colorado Office of Early Childhood, Division of Early Care and Learning manages the CCCAP program for the county. If you have an income that dips more than 185% under the federal poverty guideline, you qualify for assistance.
If you're wondering if you qualify, check out the Family Income Guidelines for CCCAP eligibility.
Each county has specific plans for child care assistance, so look at your county's plans to see your particular plan.
Applying For Assistance
To apply for CCCAP assistance, you can go online to the CCCAP site or by mail. Contact the county's department of human/social services for an application to apply via mail or in person.
When you apply, your child care worker will call your employer to double-check your listed hours and wages. The CCCAP application gives you 30 days to provide written proof of your education program or employment. Without this proof, you will not receive child care benefits.
Income And Work Changes
Enter your If your income changes, you must notify your county department of human/social services. Also, if your child care schedule changes, you need to contact the county.here...
Every year you will have to fill out a Redetermination of Eligibility Form. The county needs this form to determine if you still qualify for assistance. You will need to complete this form and send it in along with proof of your eligibility such as your work schedule and 30 days of paycheck stubs.
If you fail to complete the redetermination requirements, you will lose your child care assistance.
Program Eligibility And Application Kit (PEAK)
The PEAK program is an online program that connects you to the programs you need. These are programs that help you pay for child care, get cash assistance, receive access to health care, and to buy healthy food.
To apply for PEAK, you will need the following information:
- Full names
- Dates of birth
- Social Security Numbers
- Supplemental Security Income
- Child support information
- Last year's tax return
- Rent numbers
- Lot rent information
- Mortgage costs
- Monthly costs for utilities such as electricity, gas, phone, water, and internet
Once you've completed your PEAK application, you will be able to learn more about public assistance programs and manage your benefits from the convenience of your computer, tablet, or smartphone. If you have internet access, you'll have access to PEAK.
PEAK will lead you through the online application process of Colorado assistance programs and even tell you if you qualify for medical assistance. It also helps you to make payments, to add members to your household, to print your Health First Colorado card, and to update your contact information.
What Is The PEAK Application Process?
To apply for PEAK and get the most out of your child care assistance, follow these steps.
- Go to www.colodaro.gov/PEAK.
- Click and read "Before You Begin" which lists the documents you may need to complete your application.
- OPTIONAL: Click the "Am I Eligible" link and answer a few questions to see the benefits for which you or your family members may qualify.
- Click "Apply for Benefits".
- Create a new account if you have not done so already.
- Write down your account information: your username and password, your secret questions, and your answers to the secret questions.
- Fill out the application with the information you have with you. If there is a situation that prevents you from completing the application, choose to either "Save and Exit" or "Set my application date" and follow directions on the next screen
- Submit your application.
- Write down your tracking number.
- Send all of the needed verifications and documents to the application office that is processing your paperwork.
- Schedule and attend an appointment with a caseworker if required. Cash Assistance and Food Assistance require an interview. Medical Assistance does not.
Once you've followed these steps, you'll have access to PEAK and all of its benefits.
Seek Out Financial Assistance Programs
Colorado financial assistance programs can alleviate the financial stress that families deal with every day. They allow parents the opportunity to go to work without worrying about how to pay for child care.
If you run your own child care service, contact us and learn how we can help you when families use financial assistance. We've worked with countless child care providers to help them streamline their paperwork so they can focus on kids more.
Are you looking for more child care management information? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Child Care Management.
Our child care management system makes running your child care program simple and efficient. Get back to what's most important. You shouldn't have to spend more time on the administrative tasks than you do with children and staff.
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Or schedule a demo with us to learn more about how our child care management system, Alliance Core, can streamline your administrative processes.
Do you run an early childhood association made up of child care providers? If so, check out our Ultimate Guide to Shared Service Alliance.
Header image courtesy of Stockunlimited.