Resources to help you pay for child care

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BrightStars, Rhode Island’s Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System, assists families in finding care and recognizes and supports quality in early care and education programs.

Paying for Care

Like all parents, you want the best for your child, but paying for quality early care and education can be overwhelming. Planning ahead, getting more information, and using all of the resources available to you will get you off to a good start in making the best choice for your family.

Government Assistance

The government operates a number of programs and initiatives to help with early care and education affordability.

  • Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP)
    The Rhode Island Department of Human Services (DHS) helps eligible working families pay for early care and education through the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). To be eligible to receive child care assistance, families must meet income requirements. For families that participate in the Rhode Island Works Program, there is no income limit. Contact the DHS Info Line at (401) 462-5300 for more information or www.dhs.ri.gov.
  • Child Dependent Care Tax Credit
    If you paid for early care and education for children under 13 while you were at work or looking for work, you may be eligible to claim the child and dependent care credit and receive a percentage of the expenses paid to a child care provider. Visit www.irs.gov for more information.
  • Head Start and Early Head Start
    Federally-funded programs that provide free early care and education and other services to children birth to five years old. Visit www.riheadstart.org for more information.
  • Pre-Kindergarten Program
    A free and voluntary program for four year-olds administered by the Rhode Island Department of Education. Visit the Rhode Island Department of Education for more information and a listing of programs in your community.

Program Assistance

Some early care and education programs may offer financial assistance to eligible families. This may vary by program and families are advised to contact the early care and education program directly.

  • Scholarships
    Early care and education programs may offer financial assistance/scholarships to families in need.
  • Sliding Fee Scale
    Some early care and education programs offer a fee reduction to families based on income and family size.
  • Sibling Discount
    Early care and education programs may reduce fees when caring for more than one child in the family.

NACCRRA Military Families Fee Assistance Program

Military families may be eligible to receive a monthly subsidy to help offset the cost of early care and education. Military families may apply for child care assistance online at www.naccrra.org/military-families or dial 1 (800) 424-2246.