Parents

Child Care Costs and Financial Assistance

Child Care Costs

Most child care programs charge a fee. Rates vary by type of child care, age of child, hours in care, and individual program.

The NYS Office of Children and Family Services Market Rates come from a survey that is completed every 2 years. Child care programs in a group of counties are surveyed, and the 75th percentile of all reported rates is set as the market rate. This rate is the maximum amount the Department of Social Services can pay for child care. The rates apply for Cortland and Tompkins Counties effective October 1, 2011. 

Financial Assistance for Child Care

Child Care Subsidy - A child care subsidy may be available from the local Department of Social Services (DSS) to assist income-eligible parents who are working or enrolled in approved schooling. Check the chart below and call the Day Care Unit, Tompkins County DSS at (607) 274-5219, Cortland County DSS at (607)753-5230, if your family's income appears to qualify. According to a formula, DSS pays a portion of the child care cost, and the family also pays a fee, which varies according to your income.

Family Size                     200% of Poverty Level

1                                              $22,980

2                                              $31,020

3                                              $39,060

4                                              $47,100

5                                              $55,140

6                                              $63,180

7                                              $71,220

8                                              $79,260

For families with more than 8 persons, add $4,020 for each additional person.  The above are the income standards that are to be used for 2012.

Free or Reduced Cost Programs – There are free and reduced cost programs available through Head Start and Univeral Pre-K. Contact the Child Development Council for more information about these programs and other options.

Sliding Fee Scales - Some child care centers and school-aged child care programs set their rates based on the philosophy that all children, regardless of parents' financial resources, should have the same quality of care. These programs charge rates based on parents' income. Contact each program directly for more information.

Internal Scholarships - Contact programs you are considering for information on availability of privately funded financial assistance.

Short Term Scholarships - Emergency child care assistance is available (once a year) from the Council's emergency scholarship fund. When a family crisis affects your ability to keep child care payments current, you may be eligible for a scholarship. A committee considers applications monthly. Awards are paid directly to programs. For more information or to see if you qualify, contact the Child Development Council at (607) 273-0259.

Employer Benefits - Your employer may offer a benefit to help with child care costs. Inquire at the Human Resources Department where you work.

Tax Credits for Families with Children

Child & Dependent Care Tax Credit - These federal and New York State credits are available for parents who use child care for children under age 13 while they work, look for work, or go to school. The federal credit can be worth up to 35% of child care expenses in 2012. Learn more about the federal credit in IRS Publication 503 or by calling the IRS Helpline at 1-800-829-1040. Learn more about the state credit, worth up to 100% of the federal amount, at the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance website or by calling the Tax Information Center at 1-800-225-5829.

Earned Income Tax Credit - These federal and New York State credits are available for working people with low to moderate incomes. Learn more about the federal credit, worth up to $5,891 for 2012, at the IRS website or by calling the IRS Helpline at 1-800-829-1040. Learn more about the state credit, worth up to 30% of the federal amount, at the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance website or by calling the Tax Information Center at 1-800-225-5829.

Federal Child Tax Credit and Empire State Child Credit – Available for parents raising children under age 17. Learn more about the federal credit, worth up to $1,000 per qualifying child for 2012, at the IRS website or by calling the IRS Helpline at 1-800-829-1040. Learn more about the state credit at the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance website or by calling the Tax Information Center at 1-800-225-5829.