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The New Jersey Department of Children and Families has created a searchable online database. The Licensed Child Care Center Explorer includes information on nearly 4,000 state licensed child care centers, enabling parents to search for centers and access a center’s state inspection report.
When visiting a child care center, parents should ask plenty of questions about the center’s policies and procedures. The New Jersey Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies provides a helpful checklist that parents can use to ask questions, compare child care centers, and make an informed decision.
Low and moderate-income working parents can receive state subsidies for child care, including preschool instruction, after-school programs for children up to age 13, and care for children and teens with special needs. Subsidized care may be provided under contracts between the state and licensed child care centers or through voucher certificates, which allow parents to choose a child care program. The vouchers can be used for a variety of child care, such as licensed centers and registered family day care homes, which are allowed to care for five children at a time.
Children whose families receive cash assistance under the state welfare program, WorkFirst NJ, are entitled to free child care. Former WorkFirst NJ participants receive subsidized child care for up to two years after moving from welfare to work. Those clients make a small co-payment which varies based on family size and income.
Families who were never on welfare also can receive child care subsidies under the New Jersey Cares for Kids program. Parents living in the household must work a minimum of 30 hours per week or be enrolled in a school/training program a minimum of 20 hours. Families earning up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level qualify for subsidies. After one year, a family remains eligible with an income up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level.
To learn more about state subsidies, or for help in finding quality child care, call the Child Care Helpline at: 1-800-332-9227 or contact your county's Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) Agency.
Read this guide to choosing quality child care.