Low income families living in Georgia may receive assistance with the costs of child care from the state's Childcare and Parent Services program. CAPS, run by the Department of Family and Children Services, typically subsidizes costs rather than covering them all. To qualify, you must meet various requirements based on the age of your child, your income and your job or education status.
All families that apply for CAPS must be residents of Georgia and must have a child who is a U.S. citizen or a legal resident. The child must also meet the program's age requirements. As of the date of publication, only children under age 13 are eligible. The program does make exceptions for children who are older if they have special needs, which increases the eligible age to 18.
Georgia bases its income requirements on 160 percent of the Federal Poverty Level of 2008, setting limits on gross -- before tax -- annual income for families. The amount you can earn depends on the size of your family. Smaller families have lower limits. Larger families can earn more. For example, as of the date of publication, the income limit for a family of two was $22,400 per year, while a family of five could earn up to $39,680. The maximum limit was $68,480 for a family of 10.
Education and Work Requirements
CAPS requires each parent in the household to have an approved activity. As of the date of publication, you'll meet this requirement if you work or go to a technical or vocational school. In both cases, you must spend a minimum of 24 hours per week in employment or at school. If you work and go to school, you can combine the two to make up the 24 hours. If you're under 21, you qualify as a minor parent and can meet the activity rule if you're studying full-time at a middle school or high school or are taking full-time GED courses. You aren't eligible for CAPS if you're studying for a four-year or graduate degree at college.
Before You Apply for CAPS
Be aware that the CAPS program relies on funding from state and federal government. It may not be able to subsidize your child care costs if it runs out of money, even if you are eligible. You can find out if the program is out of funds at the Georgia COMPASS benefits assistance website, compass.ga.gov. You can also use this system to check your eligibility, make an online application and apply for child care.