Learn About Programs > Child Care Assistance

Child Care Assistance Program

  1. What is the Child Care Assistance Program?
  2. Who can get help from Child Care Assistance?
  3. How does the Child Care Assistance Program work?
  4. How much will I have to pay each month on CCAP?
  5. Can I pick my child care provider if I get help from CCAP?
  6. How do I find a child care provider who will accept CCAP?
  7. Can I change my child care provider at any time with CCAP?
  8. Can I use more than one child care provider with CCAP?
  9. Do I have to work, look for work, or go to school to get CCAP?
  10. Who is an eligible caregiver?
  11. What if I am unemployed and need child care to look for work?
  12. Do I or my children have to be U.S. citizens to get CCAP?
  13. I am an immigrant. If I get help from CCAP, will I be a public charge?
  14. Does it matter how long I have lived in Minnesota?
  15. Are there any asset limits for Child Care Assistance?
  16. Do I have to cooperate with the child support office to get CCAP?
  17. How do I get an application for the Child Care Assistance Program?
  18. What is the application like?
  19. How do I apply? Do I have to go in person?
  20. Can I apply for CCAP while I am pregnant, if I have no other children?
  21. How soon will I be able to get help from CCAP?
  22. Is there a waiting list to receive Child Care Assistance in my county?
  23. How does the waiting list work?
  24. What do I have to do to stay on the program?
  25. How often do I have to renew my CCAP?
  26. What happens if I move to another county?
  27. Is there a limit to how long I can get CCAP?
What is the Child Care Assistance Program?
The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) helps parents with lower incomes pay for child care. CCAP has many subprograms to help families. CCAP includes:
  • Basic Sliding Fee (BSF), for parents who are working, looking for work, or going to school,
  • MFIP Child Care, for parents on MFIP,
  • Transition Year Child Care, for parents in the first year after leaving MFIP.
The Child Care Assistance Program is administered by the Minnesota Department of Human Services but eligibility and case management is done by county human services departments.
Who can get help from Child Care Assistance?
The Child Care Assistance Program is for families with children under age 13 (and under age 15 for children who are handicapped or have special needs). To get CCAP, your income has to be below the limits. Parents also have to work, look for work, or go to school to get CCAP. All families on MFIP (Minnesota Family Investment Program) can get CCAP. Lots of other parents also get CCAP to help them pay for child care.
How does the Child Care Assistance Program work?
CCAP is not a free program. Almost all parents have to pay part of the cost of child care each month. This is called a co-payment or co-pay. CCAP has a sliding fee system — that means families that make more money pay a higher co-pay than families who make less money. The county that you live in also pays part of the cost of your child care. If the child care is done in your home, payments will be sent to you to pay your provider. If the child care is done at a provider’s home or a center, payments will be sent to your provider. If your provider charges more than the amount that the county pays, then you may have to pay the difference (plus your co-pay). Or you can find another provider who does not charge more than what the county will pay.
How much will I have to pay each month on CCAP?
The amount you pay each month (your parent co-pay) depends on your income and your family size. Some families with very low incomes do not have a co-pay. Other families pay between $10 and several hundred dollars each month.
Can I pick my child care provider if I get help from CCAP?
Yes. Your provider could be a child care center, family-based care, or even a friend, family member or neighbor. The provider must be 18 years old. If your child care provider is not licensed, a worker from the county will have to approve your provider before CCAP will pay for your child to go there — to make sure your child will be safe. Also, not all providers accept CCAP. You have to find a provider who accepts CCAP to get help paying for child care.
How do I find a child care provider who will accept CCAP?
You can call the Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) agency for your area. They have information about providers all across the state and will help you find child care that meets all your needs. Operators are available in Hmong, Spanish and Somali. Parents and Child Care Providers are encouraged to call 1-888-291-9811 (651-665-0150 in the metro area) for personalized support in their home language. Or, to find the CCR&R for your area, click here. You can also search for child care providers online by yourself by clicking here.
Can I change my child care provider at any time with CCAP?
Yes, but you must tell your child care worker 15 days before you change providers--unless your child is in danger. If you think your child is in danger, please talk to your child care worker right away.
Can I use more than one child care provider with CCAP?
Yes. If you need to use more than one provider because of your schedule or your child’s needs, you can.
Do I have to work, look for work, or go to school to get CCAP?
Yes. To get CCAP, every adult who lives in your home who is a parent, legal guardian, or spouse has to work an average of 20 hours per week, be looking for work, or going to school. These people are called “eligible caregivers.”
Who is an eligible caregiver?
If these people live in your home, they are eligible caregivers and have to go to work, look for work, or go to school for you to get CCAP:
  • The child’s mother and father (even if they are not married)
  • An adult married to the mother or father of the child
  • The child’s legal guardian and his or her spouse
These people who live in your home are not eligible caregivers. They do not have to work, look for work, or go to school for you to get CCAP (unless they are legal guardians):
  • Grandparents of a child
  • A parent’s boyfriend or girlfriend
  • Adult relatives who are not the mother or father of the child
  • Other people who live with you but who are not related to you
What if I am unemployed and need child care to look for work?
CCAP can also pay for 240 hours of child care (in a year) for parents to look for work.
Do I or my children have to be U.S. citizens to get CCAP?
Children for whom you are applying for CCAP must be U.S. citizens or have an acceptable immigration status. Parents or other caregivers do not have to be U.S. citizens or have an acceptable immigration status but they do need to provide proof of identity (e.g. driver's license, state identification card, passport, school identification card or birth certificate) and residence (e.g. one of the items listed above or a copy of a recent utility bill, rental lease or mortgage document).

Also, you will be asked to provide Social Security Numbers on the application. You are not required to provide Social Security Numbers and it will not impact your ability to get any benefits if you do not provide them.
I am an immigrant. If I get help from CCAP, will I be a public charge?
No. Getting CCAP does not mean you are a public charge. You can still become a U.S. citizen if you get Child Care Assistance.
Does it matter how long I have lived in Minnesota?
No. But you do have to apply in the county you live in now.
Are there any asset limits for Child Care Assistance?
No, CCAP does not look at your assets to see if you get help. (Assets include money in a checking or savings account and other things of value.)
Do I have to cooperate with the child support office to get CCAP?
For most people, yes. If you do not cooperate, you will not be able to get CCAP. However, if you have a good reason for not cooperating (for example, if you fear physical or emotional harm to you or your child), you may not have to cooperate. If this applies to you, you have to tell your worker that you want to claim “good cause.” You will have to fill out a form to explain your situation.
How do I get an application for the Child Care Assistance Program?
You can pick up an application from your county human services office. You can also get one from this website by clicking here.
What is the application like?
The application is 9 pages long, plus instructions. It asks questions about your income and expenses, your employer or school, and your children and their needs. You will also have to prove your identity and your residence (where you live). You can do this by giving copies of an ID or birth certificate and utility bill, rental lease, or mortgage.
How do I apply? Do I have to go in person?
You have to turn in your application to your county human services office. You can mail it, fax it or take it in person. There is an intake interview required to apply for CCAP. Once you get CCAP, you will work with a child care worker who will help you understand the program.
Can I apply for CCAP while I am pregnant, if I have no other children?
Yes, but you cannot get CCAP until after the child is born. Some counties have a waiting list, so it is best to apply as soon as possible to get on the list.
How soon will I be able to get help from CCAP?
You will get a letter from your child care worker within 30 days from when you turn in your application. It will tell you how soon you can begin getting help from CCAP. There is a waiting list for CCAP in come counties, so you may not be able to get help paying for child care right away.
Is there a waiting list to receive Child Care Assistance in my county?
Some counties have waiting lists to receive Child Care Assistance. To find out if your county has a waiting list click here.
How does the waiting list work?
If you are put on a waiting list in your county, when you get to the top of the list, the county will send you an application so that you can get on the program. People who are students, people who are leaving MFIP, and people who were already getting CCAP in another county have priority, so they do not have to wait as long as others.
What do I have to do to stay on the program?
You need to pay your co-pay to the child care provider every month. You also need to tell your child care worker if some things change in your life within 10 days—such as getting a new phone number or address, a change in your income, getting married or divorced, or having another child. If you do not tell your worker about these changes, you may have to pay back money that the county paid by mistake.
How often do I have to renew my CCAP?
Usually every six months. You will be sent a “redetermination” form in the mail. Fill it out and mail it back right away so that you can continue to get help paying for child care from CCAP.
What happens if I move to another county?
You should tell your child care worker right away. Usually you can still get CCAP from your former county for 2 months after you move to a new county. You will have to apply again in your new county, so do that as soon as you can.  Some counties have waiting lists for CCAP, so you may have to wait to get CCAP again if you move. If that happens, you will have priority over other people who just applied for the program, so you will not have to wait as long.
Is there a limit to how long I can get CCAP?
No.