Child Care Assistance Program

Qualifying families eligible for help

It is important to know that your child is well cared for while you are at work or going to school. One of the most important decisions you will ever make as a parent or guardian is choosing quality, affordable child care. Children are special and unique and deserve the best start possible so that they are ready to learn when they enter school.

Minnesota’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) can help to make quality child care affordable for income-eligible families. All families will have a copayment based on their gross income and family size. Child Care Assistance is available to:

The Child Care Assistance Program can help families pay child care costs for children to age 12, and for children with special needs to age 14. Child care costs may be paid for qualifying families while they go to work, look for work or attend school. To qualify for CCAP, families must comply with child support enforcement if applicable for all children in the family. Care must be provided by a legal child care provider over the age of 18. An annual summary of statistical information about families and children participating in CCAP is available in the Child Care Assistance Program Family Profile (PDF).

Family size, family income and participation in authorized activities are considered. The amount of available funding also may be a factor. In some Minnesota counties there is a waiting list (PDF) for access to day care under the Basic Sliding Fee program.

Counties use these copayment schedules DHS-6413B (PDF).

There are maximum reimbursement amounts for child care providers who serve families participating in CCAP. Maximum reimbursement rates vary by the age of the child, the type of provider, and the location where care is provided. The rate paid to a provider caring for a child through CCAP cannot be higher than their typical private pay charge. For specific maximum rates see:

CCAP provides incentives for high quality child care providers to care for children through CCAP and for families to select these providers. Providers with certain accreditations and credentials and those with 3-Star Parent Aware ratings are eligible to be reimbursed up to the 15 percent quality differential maximum rates. Providers with 4-Star Parent Aware ratings are eligible to be reimbursed up to the 20 percent quality differential maximum rates. Providers meeting criteria for both the 15 percent and the 20 percent differential are eligible for the 20 percent differential. For specific maximum rates see:

For more information about recent CCAP maximum rate changes see the Department of Human Services Child Care page.

Applying for the Child Care Assistance Program

Minnesotans in need of child care assistance should contact their county human services office to apply for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). To find out more information about CCAP, see the brochure Do you need help paying for child care?

  • • There are three ways for families to apply for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP):
  • • If you are only applying for CCAP, you can fill out the Minnesota Child Care Assistance Program Application
  • • If you need CCAP and health care coverage, cash and/or food assistance, you can fill out the Combined Application Form and the Combined Application – Child Care Addendum
  • • If you need CCAP, health care coverage, cash assistance and/or emergency assistance, you can apply online through ApplyMN. This site allows Minnesotans to fill out a single application for most public assistance programs.
  • Results of 2012 market rate survey available

    The Minnesota Department of Human Services conducts a statewide survey of the rates charged by licensed family child care and licensed center child care providers. This market rate survey, Results of the 2012 Child Care Market Rate Survey: Minnesota Child Care Provider Business Update, is used to inform the setting of maximum subsidy rates in the Child Care Assistance Program. The previous issue of this same report is also available here: Results of the 2011 Child Care Market Rate Survey.

    Help with child care services available for some military families

    Some families receiving CCAP (Child Care Assistance Program) with a parent who is an active duty soldier in the National Guard or the Army Reserve may be eligible for additional fee assistance from the U.S. Army, which offers child care assistance to families who do not live on or near a military base. Further information about this option for eligible Army families is available by calling Minnesota’s Child Care Resource and Referral Information Line at 888-291-9811, or by visiting Minnesota has one of the largest amounts of deployed National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers in the country, according to the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA). In Minnesota there are currently more than 5,000 children of military families between the ages of 0-5 and almost 5,500 children between the ages of 6-12.

    Child Care Assistance Program manual now available

    The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) Policy Manual has been updated to a new format. This manual is used by county and contracted agency child care workers to serve families in the program. The manual, with information on policies, procedures, rules and statutes of CCAP, provides workers with the information they need to help families in the program so they can become employed and self-sufficient.

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