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A childcare voucher is a way for low-income parents to get free or inexpensive supervision for their children. It is usually subsidized by the local government, and can be used at daycares that agree to participate in the child care assistance program. It is often necessary to provide proof of income, residency, and citizenship of the child, as the vouchers are typically only handed out to those who could not otherwise afford childcare. While working parents are usually the main users of this type of service, it is also typically available to parents who are in school and need someone to watch their children during the day. Both in-home daycares and childcare centers are usually able to accept vouchers.
Most areas offer a childcare voucher for every child still in elementary school, though disabled children can usually get free supervision until they are 18 years old. In most cases, the income of the parents is taken into consideration when determining the amount that they will pay for daycare. The childcare voucher should take care of the rest of the bill, allowing low-income families to get affordable supervision for their children while the parents work, go to school, or actively look for a job. Some families with particularly low income may be eligible for completely free childcare.
Daycare owners who wish to take part in the program usually need to contact the local government first, as they typically need to meet certain requirements. For example, they often need to be licensed and registered with the local government, as this ensures that they offer quality care before offering parents a childcare voucher. The benefit for daycare providers is that they are typically guaranteed payment by the government for each childcare voucher. In most cases, the government will compile a list of the available centers, and parents can choose the one that they are most interested in.
Of course, programs like this are typically so popular among low-income families that there is usually a waiting list, so parents are often encouraged to sign up before they need daycare. In addition, the selection process is usually lengthy and involved, as the government needs to make sure that the families requesting a childcare voucher truly need it. Proof of income, including child support payments, is typically requested, as there are income limits set in most areas. Families also usually need to show proof of citizenship, documents for any custody arrangements, and evidence that both parents are either in school or working too much to watch their children.