The regulations for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) have been updated multiple times in the past two years in order to better support Kentucky’s working families and Kentucky’s child care providers. These updates have been possible due to one-time COVID-19 federal relief funds.  

Several new programs have been implemented in the past couple of months that benefit working families and child care providers. Here’s an overview of the programs and how they are benefiting the community: 

  1. Child Care Assistance Program – The Division of Child Care has increased income eligibility for CCAP to families that make up to 85% of the State Median Income (SMI), which is calculated by the Census Bureau. To give families an example of what this looks like, here is the monthly income guidelines:
    • A family of 2 can make up to $3,743 monthly 
    • A family of 3 can make up to $4,623 monthly 
    • A family of 4 can make up to $5,504 monthly
    • A family of 5 can make up to $6,384 monthly
    • A family of 6 can make up to $7,265 monthly 

The income eligibility has changed, but the application process is still the same. Families can go to or apply at their local DCBS office. Parents or caregivers must work a minimum of twenty hours per week or be full-time students to apply.  

Check out this CCAP FAQ for help navigating the application process. 

  1. Transitional Child Care Program – When a caregiver gets a raise or higher paying job that might disqualify them for CCAP, the transitional program will help the family ease off supports without experiencing a significant benefits cliff. Instead of immediately losing all child care subsidy, the family will have a six-month time period where they receive a 50% reduction of their benefit before their subsidy benefit is lost.

Depending on which benefit is less, the family will either receive 50% of the amount that they were currently receiving for CCAP or 50% of the county’s maximum rate of reimbursement (see Note below). This benefit was previously in place for three months and the Division of Child Care extended it to six months for eligible families. 

  1. New Benefits for Child Care Center Employees – In order to help child care centers recruit and retain employees, effective on October 24th, any employee of a licensed or certified child care program that works a minimum of 20 hours per week is eligible for CCAP. These employees are a protected population and will not be disqualified due to income. The child care center will be able to receive full reimbursement for the employees’ children without offering a discount, and the employees will not have to worry about the cost of their own children’s care while they are working.

NOTE: Reimbursement rates for all children enrolled in CCAP are based on the market-rate of the county, and those reimbursement rates can be found in the child care regulations. Child care providers can ensure they are getting reimbursed at the maximum amount by submitting the DCC-94B form to the Division of Child Care to confirm their current rates are on file. If the child care program charges more than the county’s maximum reimbursement rate, then the family is responsible for paying the overage.  

These much-needed changes to the Child Care Assistance Program are currently being paid for through the American Rescue Plan federal funds, and those funds must be spent in each state by September 2024. Depending on CCAP enrollment, the funds may not last that long.   

For families and child care providers that want to see these changes remain permanent, it is essential to reach out to your local legislative representatives. Let them know your personal story and how the increases to child care benefits have supported you. Look up your state Senator and Representative is in the  Kentucky General Assembly.