Washington Child Care Subsidies to Help Save Money

Raising children seems to become more and more expensive each year. For families with working parents, finding care is a necessity, yet in many places in the U.S., the cost of child care is quickly approaching the cost of rent. A number of options are available to help pay for care. We’ve compiled a list of resources to help lower the costs:

From the State

The federal government provides money to individual states, but the aid available to families varies by state. Many subsidies have income requirements and are generally for families with children under 13. (The age limit is often extended if the child has a disability.) Be sure to check the requirements to know the type of care it covers.

In Washington State:

Check the National Women's Law Center for for Washington and other state's child care assistance policies.

Military Assistance

Military family assistance is provided to member of the military and the Department of Defense depending on each branch of service or agency: Visit Child Care Aware of America to find out the specific requirements for your branch or agency.

Tax Subsidies

Working families can qualify for a tax break with the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. You can itemize up to $3,000 in child care expenses per child ($6,000 maximum). When you file your personal income tax return at the end of the year, use IRS Form 2441 to itemize.

Child Tax Credit

As soon as your child is born, you become eligible for the child tax credit of up to $2,000 for every child under the age of 17. Visit the IRS website to see if you qualify.

Earned Income Tax Credit

The EITC is a tax credit available to low- to moderate-income wage earners. The credit can range depending upon how many children you have and your filing status. Visit the IRS website to file.

Dependent Care Accounts

The federal government offers this type of Flexible Spending Account  through your employer. If your job offers a Dependent Care Account, you can put aside pre-tax dollars to pay for child care expenses. Talk to your Human Resource department to see if a Dependent Care Account is available to you and how you can get started.

Child care network programs

Some larger companies have established relationships with child care providers and offer a discount to employees who use the providers from that network. Check with your Human Resource representative.

School-sponsored subsidies

If you or your spouse is a student, your school may offer financial assistance for paying for child care. Because programs are specific to each school, check with the individual college or university.

Sliding fee scales

Some child care centers offer a sliding scale or a scholarship for low-income families. Ask about rate options when you interview.

Sibling discounts

Some child care centers offer a discount if you register an additional child.

Jonna Bell