Updates to the Child Care Assistance Program

What is it? How is it useful?

The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) is a program run by New York state and administered through local Social Services offices that allows parents from low-income families, or families receiving public assistance, help pay for child care. Families who make under 85% of the State Median Income may qualify for the program, which allows families to pay a subsidized rate for care.

Once enrolled, families are eligible for the CCAP program for one year, provided their income doesn’t increase over program eligibility limits. Note, if your income increases, but you remain eligible, the cost you can expect to pay will not increase during this period. A chart of Income Requirements can be found here.

CCAP families pay a small portion of their child care cost, known as “parent share” or “family share,” a number which can be as low as one dollar a week.

What’s different now?

Due to recent wins in legislation, the NYS Office of Children & Family Services announced at its October 7th Stakeholder’s meeting that the Family Share –the reduced fee that families enrolled in the child care assistance program pay for care— for CCAP enrollees would be limited to 1% of a family’s funds over the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

Prior to this legislation, New York’s Family Share was left to the discretion of county DSS offices, and could lay between 1% and 10% over the FPL, with little transparency up front about how the percentage was determined. With support from Governor Hochul, New York joins states like Washington and Vermont in telling parents what they can expect to pay for care up front.

Family Share is calculated from the percentage of income a family has over 100% the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). See an example calculation here, and a chart of Family Share estimates here.

New Yorkers can look forward to further changes to simplify the process of applying for CCAP in the coming years. Announced earlier in 2023, Governor Hochul’s administration, in collaboration with the Office of Children & Family Services, is in the process of updating the application for the Child Care Assistance Program, aiming to standardize the process for New Yorkers regardless of their county of residence.

Check Eligibility and Find Assistance Locally

There is a new eligibility questionnaire on the OCFS website that takes less than ten minutes to complete! If your family is eligible, you can choose a provider that meets your needs as long as they are licensed, registered, or enrolled as a legally exempt provider.

For help navigating the Child Care Assistance Program, check out the Parent Guide to Navigating CCAP, developed by ECLC’s Research Analyst, Ryan Chappell. For questions about completing the application and finding the right care for your family, contact your local Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) Agency. CCR&Rs offer essential support to families and child care providers by coordinating and planning child care services within their communities. There are 35 CCR&Rs located throughout New York State. Families can contact their local CCR&R for information on licensing requirements, where to get help paying for child care, local provider options, and other services in the community available for children.

Our Authors:
Ryan Chappell, Research Analyst, ECLC
Vicki Robert, Community Education Associate, ECLC

Vicki Robert