States helping families get child care with new scholarships, expansion of subsidies

October 21, 2021

Amid continuing workforce shortages and the availability of new federal dollars, states across the Midwest are ramping up their efforts to assist families in need of child care. Here are recent examples from the region.costs of child care

  • Indiana has extended its Build, Learn, Grow scholarship program through March of next year. It targets help for households with adults in “essential” business sectors such as health care, retail, food services and restaurants, and manufacturing and logistics. Depending on the family’s income level, the scholarships cover between 20 percent and 80 percent of a child’s tuition to attend before- or after-school care or an early-childhood education program.
  • A new referral program in Kansas will connect individuals seeking jobs through the state’s local workforce centers to the various child care assistance and subsidy programs available to them.
  • Kansas also is among the Midwestern states at least temporarily increasing eligibility for child care assistance. Any Kansas worker who makes 250 percent or less of the federal poverty level is now eligible for a state subsidy. As part of the expansion, too, Kansas is waiving the family-share deduction for essential workers and reducing the deduction for others. Nebraska (LB 485) and Michigan (SB 82) have increased eligibility levels to 185 percent of the federal poverty level.
  • Illinois is offering three months of free child care to lower-income parents who are out of work and actively seeking employment.