For many families paying for child care is a challenge. The local child care resource and referral agency can help families assess their eligibility for child care subsidies and tax credits and provide information about the benefits of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
The Child Care Assistance Program program subsidizes child care costs for low- and moderate-income working families. For eligibility guidelines, visit the New Jersey Department of Human Services website or your local child care resource and referral agency. The NJCK child care subsidy program is administered by the child care resource and referral agency in each county.
WorkFirst New Jersey (WFNJ) child care funds are available for clients who are receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and have been accepted into the WFNJ program. Participants are eligible for child care subsidy if they need child care to work, look for work, or participate in a Board of Social Services-approved work activity. Transitional child care benefits may be provided for up to two years after a WFNJ participant gets a job and is no longer receiving cash assistance through WFNJ. The WFNJ child care subsidy program is administered by the child care resource and referral agency in each county.
Contracted Child Care Centers are full-day, full-year child care centers that have contracts directly with the State of New Jersey to provide subsidized slots to serve families who are eligible for child care assistance. For more information about the subsidized child care centers in your county, contact your local child care resource and referral agency.
State Funded Preschool Programs (Formerly known as Abbott) are available in the thirty-one formerly known as Abbott school districts throughout New Jersey. These programs provide free, year-round early care and education to all three- and four-year-olds residing in the school district. For more information about the these preschool programs in your county, contact your local child care resource and referral agency.
Early Launch to Learning Initiative (ELLI) programs are available in school districts throughout New Jersey. These part-day programs are scattered throughout the state. For more information about the ELLI programs in your county, contact your local child care resource and referral agency.
Earned Income Tax Credits - families in New Jersey may be eligible for both federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits. These credits reduce the amount of tax owed for eligible low-income workers and may provide a refund, even if the person has no tax liability. For more information on the NJ Earned Income Tax Credit, click here. For information on the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, click here.
Federal Child and Dependent Care Credits - families may be eligible for these tax benefits, which can help pay for child care and other expenses. Visit the IRS website for more information.
Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Flexible Spending Accounts - ask your employer if a flexible spending account or other benefits are offered to assist with child care expenses. With a flexible spending account, employees can set-aside up to $5,000 in income annually to be used to reimburse child care expenses. These funds are "pre-tax", which means that money can be set aside to be used for child care expenses and is not taxed like wages. Some employers may match these funds.