Wellness Tips

Cheap childcare tips for working Fort Worth, Texas, families

Tarrant County schools will dismiss for the summer this week, and that means working parents have to look for childcare that meets their family’s needs.

While quality childcare gives you piece of mind, it can be expensive for Fort Worth parents. But once you explore your options, you might be surprised by what affordable childcare you’re able to find. Nonprofits and state agencies provide options that will help your kids learn new skills, have fun and forge friendships — all on a budget.

First, knowing how much you can afford to spend will help you evaluate your options. Once you know your budget, a little planning and research will go a long way.

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Here are some affordable childcare options and ways you may be able to lower your costs.

How much does a childcare provider cost in Fort Worth?

The average hourly rate of a childcare provider in Fort Worth is $12.96 per hour, according to Nanny Lane. The average gross weekly salary of a childcare provider is $453.60. Use a calculator to find out how much childcare will cost you.

Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County

Workforce Solutions provides subsidized childcare services for low-income families. Parents who need childcare to work, seek work, or attend education or training are eligible.

Child Care Associates is the Child Care Management Services contractor for Workforce Solutions in Tarrant County. Workforce Solutions uses the program to purchase childcare for eligible families in Tarrant County.

Most parents are required to contribute to the cost of childcare, with their fees being a percentage of the family’s monthly gross income. To see if you’re eligible, visit tarrantcountyccms.org/home/parents/application/ or check out the eligibility document. Visit the CCMS website for a full list of accredited childcare providers.

Tarrant County CCMS is located at 305 NE Loop 820 #1, Hurst, open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Call 817-831-0374 for more information.

There are three types of childcare regulated by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services:

  • Licensed Child Care Centers
  • Licensed Child Care Homes
  • Registered Child Care Homes

Always check a childcare provider’s inspection record on DFPS’s website. To find the right provider for your family, download and take a checklist with you in English or Spanish and use it to rate every childcare facility or registered family home you visit.

For more information about Workforce Solutions, enter your name, ZIP code and question in the website’s chat box.

Child Care Associates

As one of the largest child development programs in North Texas, Child Care Associates helps low-income families cover the cost of quality childcare. The organization, headquartered at 3000 E. Belknap St. in Fort Worth, provides early education programs as well as financial assistance. For more information, call 817-838-0055.

Head Start (3-5 years old) and Early Head Start (0-3 years old) are two nationally-funded early education programs for low-income children and their families. CCA offers full-day, campus-based programs at no cost to eligible families (8 a.m. – 3 p.m., with some sites offering extended hours from 6:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.).

Both programs provide a child-centered, play-focused education that values your child’s development while offering these resources:

  • Learning experiences promoting social, emotional, physical, reasoning and creative life skills
  • Strong teacher-child interactions
  • Nutritious breakfast, lunch, and snacks
  • Daily physical activity and outdoor play
  • Referrals to and onsite delivery of disability and behavioral health services
  • Home visits to reinforce home-based learning, supportive parenting, and social-emotional development
  • Activities that involve parents and families
  • Services for children with special care needs

Head Start Eligibility:

  • Child is at least 3 years old by September 1
  • Household income (100% poverty level)
  • Homeless
  • Foster care
  • Public assistance (TANF & SSI ONLY)

Early Head Start & Home Visiting Eligibility:

  • Child must be under 3 years old by September 1
  • Household income (100% poverty level)
  • Homeless
  • Foster care
  • Public assistance (TANF & SSI ONLY)

Other Qualifiers:

  • Disability (as defined by LEA and Part B standards)

In addition to household income status, CCA’s Head Start prioritizes families with teen parents and families with other at-risk factors. Visit the CCA website to find a location near you. Apply by filling out a form in English or Spanish.

You qualify for financial assistance for childcare if all of the following apply:

  • You need childcare for a child 0-12 years of age (or up to 19 years old if disabled).
  • The child needing care lives in the household with you.
  • You live in Tarrant County.
  • You need childcare to participate in work, school, or training activities for at least 25 hours per week for a single parent or 50 hours per week for a two-parent family.
  • The total gross income for your household is below income guidelines.

To apply for financial assistance, visit tarrantcountyccms.org.

Texas Benefits Center can help with childcare

The state of Texas provides childcare services for eligible families. Texas Benefits Center is a nonprofit that helps families with children under 3 years old find out what childcare assistance is available for them. Different options include funds for enrollment in a daycare, reimbursement for paid childcare, after school care, and other childcare assistance services.

To find out how to apply for childcare support, call 888-295-8328. Hours are Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Texas Child Care Availability Portal

Use the Texas Child Care Availability Portal tool to find childcare that meets your needs. Search by your location, transportation method and child’s age. Then, you can filter providers and save a list of your favorites.

Tips to save money on childcare in Texas

Care.com offers the following tips to parents:

  • Sign up for a Dependent Care Account — If your employer offers this type of Flexible Spending Account, you can set aside up to $5,000 tax-free to pay for childcare.
  • Apply your childcare tax credit — This credit allows you to itemize up to $8,000 in expenses per child per year, up to a $16,000 annual cap per family. For more information on federal and state childcare assistance, visit childcareaware.org.
  • Talk to Human Resources — Some workplaces offer childcare reimbursements for working parents. Check in with your HR department about money-saving benefits. If your company has an on-site daycare, it can save you money while offering peace of mind.
  • Nanny share — If you have friends who are also looking for childcare, you can hire one nanny to watch the kids from both families and share the cost. Parents can also share childcare by swapping days. For example, you take the kids for three days and your neighbor or friend takes them for two days, or vice versa.

More childcare resources for Texas parents

  • ACH Child and Family Services: ACH works to protect children and preserve families. Programs include foster care and adoption, crisis intervention, family services, residential services and community-based care. 3712 Wichita St, Fort Worth. Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. To get help, call 817-335-4673.

  • Lena Pope: This nonprofit’s mission is to improve child wellbeing in Tarrant County. They focus on emotional, behavioral and intellectual wellbeing. 3200 Sanguinet St, Fort Worth. Call 817-255-2500 for more information.

  • Catholic Charities of Fort Worth: Catholic Charities provides services designed to help clients overcome poverty. 249 Thornhill Dr, Fort Worth. Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Call 817-534-0814 for more information.

  • Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s Family and Community Health: FCH aims to help Texans better their lives through science-based educational programs designed to improve the overall health and wellness of individuals, families, and communities. For more information, call 979-845-3850.

  • Help Me Grow North Texas: Help Me Grow works to promote child development by linking families to community resources that meet their needs. An information line connects families to child development services and other community-based resources within your area. By calling this number, you are connected to an experienced child development specialist who can provide education, resources, and information on developmental screenings to meet your specific needs. Contact family navigators at 844-689-5437 or visit the website and click “Connect with a Family Navigator!”

  • The Parenting Center: This family service center offers parenting education, in-home parent coaching, relationship workshops, co-parenting, counseling and play therapy. 2928 W 5th St, Fort Worth. Call 817-332-6348 for more information.

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