How to Find Daycare Financial Assistance: 6 Helpful Resources

| 8 min read Financial Assistance

Childcare expenses in the US can significantly burden families with young children, whether it’s for after-school programs or full-day care for infants. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that daycare expenses should not exceed 7% of a family’s income. However, in over 50% of states, daycare costs more than the tuition fees of in-state public colleges. A recent study by lending platform NetCredit found that the average daycare cost is $1,031 more per year than public college tuition.

To afford the cost of raising a child, couples and single parents alike must make difficult decisions, especially when figuring out how to pay for daycare.

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Surprising facts about daycare costs

Wondering how to pay for daycare should never be a source of worry, yet many people feel pressure when it comes to paying the high price. Here are five alarming facts about the cost of daycare in the US you should know.

  • Per a survey, 67% of parents spend 20% or more of their annual household income on child care—up from 51% in 2022. 
  • How much does child care cost for a little less than half of American families? The average daycare cost amounts to a whopping 27% of annual household income, according to a 2023 survey of over 3,000 families nationwide. 
  • The cost of child care for infants and toddlers in the US can go up to $1,300 per month. Daycare financial assistance and subsidies often only cover 42% of the bill and families are still responsible for the rest.
  • Daycare costs in the United States are one of the largest expenses families face. In New York, for example, daycare averages around $23,000 per year—double the cost of a public four-year university.
  • The cost of child care disproportionately affects single-parent households, exceeding 30% of the median income for single mothers with school-age children.

Finding help with daycare cost

Raising children comes with many memorable moments of joy. But it often takes a village to help raise them. With the average daycare cost climbing and more than 70,000 childcare providers in danger of closing, it can be overwhelming to deal with the financial struggles from it. Fortunately, you can get help with child care costs, regardless of whether you are a single parent or looking for child care assistance as a two-parent household.

1. Government assistance for daycare costs

The government knows that plenty of Americans need help paying for child care. The programs below offer various levels of support for those who need it with requirements and how to apply.

  • lists local state resources that parents can access in their community and details on these state-specific programs. These resources point to affordable daycare and afterschool programs for low-income families.
  • Child Care Aware of America serves children and families with their network of referral agencies throughout the US. The organization helps parents find daycare options near their home or work, and provides information on child care providers that offer sliding scale fees for help paying for daycare.
  • Head Start programs provide development and learning services for newborns through age five from low-income families.
  • The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit is offered for those who pay for child care services for children under the age of 13. While you won’t receive the funds immediately, it may help save you money during the following year.
  • The Child Care and Development Fund offers daycare financial help to eligible families with children under the age of 13, and minors up to age 19 who are incapable of self-care.
  • The Department of Defense offers daycare financial assistance for military service members and their families who qualify.  

2. Organizations that offer low-cost daycare

The two organizations below—each with hundreds of locations nationwide—provide affordable, quality daycare and after-school services for kids and teens. 

  • The YMCA offers a range of daycare options for infants and preschoolers. The organization also has several active and academic after school programs for children in kindergarten through middle school.
  • The Kids In Need program, operated by the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, offers a fun and safe place for children and teens to go after school, especially when parents are working or in school. This program is available in most cities within the US, as well as US military stations around the world.

3. Daycare financial help through grants

Soroptomist is a volunteer organization that promotes economic empowerment by offering opportunities and resources for girls and women. Through their Live Your Dream award, women can apply for one of 1,700 cash grants each year that they can use toward the pursuit of higher education, including covering daycare costs, basic essentials, transportation, tuition, and books.

4. Employer-sponsored child care

Employers across the country are realizing the benefits of offering childcare benefits to their employees. In fact, more than half of them plan to prioritize this benefit to attract and retain top talent. Providing childcare benefits can also increase productivity by allowing employees to focus on their work, knowing that their children are well taken care of. If offered, childcare benefits will be included in your benefit package. This could mean full reimbursement or a monthly stipend to cover the cost of child care. Just ask your HR department for more details.

5. Childcare co-op

Childcare cooperatives come in different types, either as informal home-based care facilities run by a cooperative of caregivers that include parents or as formal nursery schools. The state does not regulate these co-ops, so background checks and other non-mandated safety measures are often a part of the co-op protocol. Parent participation is crucial in providing care in these cooperatives. Another option is a nanny share, where two families can hire one nanny to watch their children simultaneously. 

These two alternative in-home childcare options can significantly reduce the cost of childcare, depending on the number of families involved, when compared to daycare centers. However, make sure to check for active licensing and regulations in your state. 

6. Crowdfunding can help with daycare costs

If you are wondering how to get help with bills, especially financial assistance for daycare, crowdfunding can be a lifeline. With crowdfunding, there is no lengthy application process, eligibility requirements, or long waiting periods to receive your funds. A fundraiser is easy to set up, and allows you to raise the money you need when it’s an emergency and you need your community to rally around you. 

How to start a fundraiser for daycare financial help

Online fundraising can help you raise money to help with daycare costs when you’re in a bind. In the US, starting or managing your fundraiser on GoFundMe is free. However, there is one small transaction fee per donation that covers all your fundraising needs. Everything else goes directly to your cause because that’s what matters most. 

Calculate your budget and use this childcare calculator to determine the full cost. Below are some top fundraising tips to help you create your own successful fundraiser to help with daycare costs. 

  • This guide on how to raise money fast breaks down the fundraising process into five easy steps so you can feel confident that your fundraiser will reach more donors and raise more money. 
  • A winning fundraiser begins with a compelling fundraiser story. Learn how to craft a powerful fundraiser title that connects with your audience and inspires people to donate to your cause. 
  • Use the power of social media to turn followers into donors, from Instagram and TikTok and your neighbors on NextDoor. Learn the secrets to successful social media fundraising and how to keep your followers’ attention through positive engagement.
  • If you need to raise money quickly, these fast fundraising ideas will get your fundraiser off the ground in a snap, creating a sense of urgency within your audience and leading to more donations.

Successful daycare fundraisers

All around the world, people are turning to GoFundMe to find relief from some of their financial burdens—especially the high daycare. Look below at how others have used the platform to raise money successfully.

Help Kris and Nat with childcare

Cancer treatment took a toll on Natalie, a mother of two who could not provide the care her young children needed. After a reduction in their government childcare subsidy, the family turned to fundraising for help. Through their fundraiser, Natalie and her husband Kris raised over $10,000 to pay for daycare, allowing Natalie time to rest and recover.

Care for Robin’s children

When Robin became ill and passed away, she left behind two young daughters. One of her children, Samantha, has Cornelia DeLange Syndrome—a lifetime disability requiring specialized care. Robin’s brother started a fundraiser for her children and raised more than $11,000 to help pay for Samantha’s care. 

Ransom’s Day Care Costs

After Nicolas experienced a severe reaction to antibiotics that left him disabled, he was no longer able to take care of his young son Ransom. Nicolas started a fundraiser to help cover the cost of Ransom’s day care while he recovered, and successfully raised nearly $7,500.  

Find the daycare financial help you need today

No parent should ever have to worry about providing care for their child. Through a family fundraiser and tips from our blog, you can quickly raise the money you need to help with daycare costs—and remove the financial burden for yourself and your family. Sign up today and start your own daycare fundraiser so you can focus on the joys of parenthood without the financial stress. 

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Written by GoFundMe