This page contains policy summaries about the Child Care Assistance Program and how they affect you (the parent or applicant/co-applicant). 

If you have questions about any of the information below, please follow up with your
Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency.


 

Copayment (Copay)

Please note that your child care provider will begin collecting copayments from you starting August 1, 2024.

If you are a family receiving child care assistance through New Jersey’s Department of Human Services, Division of Family Development, federal law requires families to share in the cost of child care using a sliding fee scale (meaning cost is adjusted depending on your income). This fee is known as copayment or copay. 

Copayments had been temporarily suspended since the onset of, and recovery from, the COVID-19 pandemic due to the availability of additional federal funding. That funding is no longer available, and federal law requires families receiving child care assistance to share in the cost of child care by making copayments, with limited exceptions.

Copays are resuming and your child care provider will begin collecting copayments from you starting August 1, 2024.

What factors are considered when determining the copayment amount?
Copayment amounts are based on the household’s income, family size, hours of care (part- time or full-time), and number of children receiving services through the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP).
 
What are the copayment percentages?
The copayment percentage ranges from 2% to 5% and is based on three income level thresholds. Copayments are assessed only on the first and second child (there is no copayment for any additional children). The copayment for part-time care is half the amount of full-time care.
 
Copayments are assessed at three different income thresholds:

  1. At or below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)

  2. Income at 101% up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)

  3. At or above 201% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)

Copayment percentages are as follows: 

Family income at or below 100% FPL

Full-Time

Part-Time

One Full-Time/One Part-Time

One Child

Two or More Children

One Child

Two or More Children

Two or More Children

waived

waived

waived

waived

waived


Family income of at least 101% and up to 200% of FPL

Full-Time

Part-Time

One Full-Time/One Part-Time

One Child

Two or More Children

One Child

Two or More Children

Two or More Children

2% of income

3% of income

1% of income

1.5% of income

2.5% of income

 
Family income is 201% of FPL or greater

Full-Time

Part-Time

One Full-Time/One Part-Time

One Child

Two or More Children

One Child

Two or More Children

Two or More Children

3% if income

5% of income

1.5% of income

2.5% of income

4% of income


How can I calculate my copayment to know the exact amount I have to pay?
There are several ways to help you understand and determine your copayment amount.

  • Your copayment amount will be automatically calculated for you and printed on your PAPA issued by your local CCR&R.

  • You can contact your local CCR&R.

  • You can estimate your copayment by multiplying your monthly income by the above percentage that applies to your situation.

  • You can review the Copayment Schedule.

Important Reminder – copayments are based on household income, family size, hours of care (part-time or full-time), and number of children receiving assistance (whether 1 or 2).

Why might I still owe money to my provider after I pay my copayment?
The state has set payment rates for the Child Care Assistance Program. These rates vary depending on several factors including the age of the child and the type of provider (whether you are using a licensed child care center or a registered family child care provider) and whether the provider meets Grow NJ Kids high-quality standards.
 
The state rate may cover the entire cost of your child’s care. However, if your provider charges more than what the state covers, you are responsible for paying the difference. This is called an overage. This overage is separate from the copay and other fees your child care provider charges for specific purposes (e.g., field trips and late fees). You are responsible for paying these fees directly to your provider.
 
In certain situations, if your child care provider charges more than the state payment rate, they may choose not to charge you the overage or otherwise negotiate a lower rate. 
 
When am I responsible for paying my copayment amount to my provider?
Starting August 1, 2024 – you will have to directly pay your copayment to your provider.
 
How often do I have to pay a copayment?
You are responsible for paying your copayment for the time period indicated on your PAPA. Please discuss with your provider to determine the frequency at which your copayment is due, such as weekly, monthly, etc.

What are some examples of copays and overage amounts?
To give you an example, first, we need to determine the type of setting, for example whether you are using a licensed child care center, registered family child care provider or approved home (in home or family, friends and neighbor) and then locate your income level on the Income Eligibility Chart. Once you’ve determined the type of child care facility and your income level based on your family size, you can calculate the copayment you’ll be required to pay by reviewing the Copayment Schedule.

Example One
There is one parent and one child in the family, for a family size of two. Let’s assume your family earns an income of $31,000 a year, or $2,583 a month (family income between 101% and up to 200% of FPL). The one child is in full-time care, so you’ll be required to pay 2% of your annual gross income, which equals a total yearly copayment of $620. This would be divided monthly, so your monthly copayment to your provider would be $51.57. 

Ages of Children

Provider Monthly Rate

CCAP
Payment Rate*

Overage

Monthly Copayment

Total Family Cost

Infant

$1,700.00

$1,571.97

$128.03

$51.67

$179.70

 

Example Two
There are two parents with two children, for a family size of four. Let’s assume your family earns a gross income of $61,000 a year, or $5,083 a month (family income between 101% and up to 200% of FPL). One child is in full-time care and one is in part-time care. You’ll be required to pay 2.5% (2% first child and .5% second child) of your annual gross income, which equals a total yearly copayment of $1,525. This would be divided monthly, so your monthly copayment to your provider would be $127.09. 

Ages of Children

Provider Monthly Rate

CCAP
Payment Rate*

Overage

Monthly Copayment

Total Family Cost

Infant (P/T)

$900.00

$785.99

$114.01

 
$127.09

 
$297.21

Preschool

$1,300.00

$1,243.89

$56.11

 
Example Three
There are two parents with three children, for a family size of five. Let’s assume your family earns a gross income of $91,000 a year, or $7,583 a month (family income above 200% FPL). Three children are in full-time care, you’ll be required to pay 5% (3% first child, 2% second child, 0% third child) of your annual gross income which equals a total yearly copayment of $4,550. This would be divided monthly, so your monthly copayment to your provider would be $379.19.

Ages of Children

Provider Monthly Rate

CCAP
Payment Rate*

Overage

Monthly Copayment

Total Family Cost

Toddler

$1,500.00

$1,392.33

$107.67

$379.17

  $599.06

Preschooler 1

$1,300.00

$1,243.89

$56.11

Preschooler 2

$1,300.00

$1,243.89

$56.11

 
*For all three examples, we used the licensed child care provider rate.
 
In certain situations, the child care provider may offer discounted rates for siblings and also may waive the overage amount or otherwise negotiate a lower rate. The Child Care Assistance Program does not provide services to negotiate the overage, that is the responsibility of the family and the child care provider.

12-Month Eligibility

Families that meet all Child Care Assistance Program eligibility requirements at initial application or redetermination will continue to be authorized for a 12-month eligibility period. This means you will continue receiving services during your 12-month eligibility period, even if you experience a temporary change in your family income or work, school or job training schedule.
 
You can request less than twelve (12) months of care, if you decide that a shorter period is more appropriate for your needs, for example, if you only need care in the summer.
 
You must report any of the following changes:

  • Family’s gross annual income exceeds 85 percent (85%) of the State Median Income (SMI)Families whose gross annual income exceeds 85% of the SMI (please refer to Tier E of the Income Eligibility Chart) are immediately ineligible for continued child care assistance.

  • Family moved to another county.

  • Family changes child care providers.

Changes must be reported to your CCR&R in person, by phone, by email, by mail or by filling out the CC-198 Notification of Change form (you can request this form from your CCR&R), within ten (10) business days.

Continued Eligibility at Redetermination

Effective October 1, 2021, the minimum required number of work, school or job training hours for a child care assistance applicant at redetermination is 20 hours per week. The hours can be any combination of work, school or job training to meet the requirement.

Graduated Phase-Out

The graduated phase-out period of child care assistance is a one-year period of continued assistance that is granted when a your income has exceeded 250% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), but remains below 85% of the State Median Income (SMI) at redetermination. If your income exceeds 85% of the SMI, you are no longer eligible for assistance and you are required to notify your CCR&R within 10 days of the change in income.

250% of FPL income limit (Tier D) and 85% of SMI income limit (Tier E) for 2023-2024, according to family size, as follows:

Family Size

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

Income Limits at 250% FPL

$36,450

$49,300

$62,150

$75,000

$87,850

$100,700

$113,550

$126,400

$139,250

$152,100

These income limits are based on the 2023-2024 Federal Poverty Level   Note: If Your Family Size is more than 10, Each Additional = $12,850

Income Limits at 85% SMI

$64,023

$78,769

$100,042

$119,558

$127,973

$136,388

$144,803

$153,218

161,633

$170,048

These income limits are based on the 2023-2024 State Median Income    Note: If Your Family Size is more than 10, Each Additional = $8,415


A graduated phase-out period of assistance commences at the beginning of a new eligibility period and can only be granted one time. After the one-year graduated phase-out period, you are no longer eligible for assistance. 

2023-2024 Income Eligibility Schedule Chart

County-to-County Child Care Case Transfers

If you move to another county in New Jersey, you must report this to the CCR&R in the county you moved from in person, by phone, by email, by mail or by filling out the CC-198 Notification of Change form (you can request this form from your CCR&R), within ten (10) business days.
 
Your 12-month eligibility period will not be interrupted.
 
The CCR&R in the county you moved from must transfer case information to the CCR&R in the county you have moved to 60 days before your 12-month service end date.

Acceptable Documentation to Verify Eligibility

Your CCR&R will provide you with the Documentation Checklist if your application is missing required documentation. Until the you provide the missing documentation, your application will be marked as ‘Pending’ and is considered to be incomplete.
 
Your CCR&R is required to maintain your “Pending” application and any documentation that was submitted for a maximum of 45 calendar days from the date on which you were provided with written notification of the pending status. If you do not submit the required documentation by the 45th calendar day, your application will be denied.

Verification of Employment, School and/or Job Training Hours

You (applicant/co-applicant) must work and/or attend school/job training for a minimum of 30 hours per week to be eligible for child care assistance. Original, electronic, or copies of proof can be mailed, emailed or dropped-off in person to your CCR&R.   
 
Verifying Work Hours
You must submit proof of at least four (4) weeks of employment at a minimum of 30-hours per week. The four (4) weeks of paystubs can occur anywhere in the six (6) weeks prior to the date you submit your application or in the six (6) weeks after your application is received. In the event that additional information is required to reasonably calculate hours, you may submit additional current paystubs.
 
In the following situations, you may submit a CC-188 Verification of Employment form completed by your employer or a letter on the employer’s letterhead which substantially includes the same information requested in the CC-188 Verification of Employment form:

  • Paystubs do not reflect work hours

  • Paystubs do not have all the required information to accurately determine gross income

  • New Employment and Applicant/Co-Applicant has not received paystubs yet

To continue to remain eligible for child care assistance, original, electronic, or copies of the aforementioned required number of paystubs must be submitted within 60 days of the CCR&R certification date.
 
Verifying School or Job Training Hours
If you (applicant/co-applicant) are attending a school or job training program to meet the work/school/job training hours requirement, your hours can be verified by submitting an original, electronic, or a copy of a school registration document, schedule, or letter from the job training program. In the event that this documentation cannot be provided, you may submit a CC-189 Verification of School or Training form completed by a representative of the school or job training program.
 
To meet eligibility requirements, if you are in school, you must attend a college or university as part of a two-year Associate Degree program or four-year Baccalaureate Degree program with the goal to achieve a degree or credentials to gain employment (economic independence). Online courses are allowed in the following circumstances:        

  • Online classes are required as part of achieving related two or four year Degree; and

  • Limited to two online classes for full-time and one online class for part-time per semester (NOTE:   Under the authority of New Jersey’s Statewide Emergency, Disaster and Recovery Plan, DFD continues to allow full-remote learning to establish/maintain eligibility for the Child Care Assistance Program).

NOTE:  Even if your attendance at school/job training alone satisfies the hours requirement, your CCR&R is still required to inquire about your potential earned income and compare that income to the maximum allowable income limits for Child Care Assistance Program eligibility.
           
Verifying Self-Employment Hours/Income
Self-employment income is earned income, received directly from one’s own business, trade, or profession, instead of receiving a specified wage from an employer.
 
Self-employed individuals must submit their current Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Income Tax Return Transcript and IRS Schedule C (Form 1040) “Profit or Loss from Business (Sole Proprietorship)” or Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040) “Net Profit from Business (Sole Proprietorship)” to determine if the self-employment activity is acceptable.  If you cannot produce a tax transcript, you will be found ineligible. To assess the merit of the purported employment, it is expected that the profit, when evaluated, be equal to or greater than the Federal minimum wage.
 
This means that income from a new business that has yet to file taxes cannot form the basis of eligibility for Child Care Assistance Program entry.

Because of extreme variations between the gross and net income for different business structures and types of services provided, the IRS Schedule C (Form 1040) or Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040) will be the only forms accepted for eligibility consideration.
 
Verification of Unearned Income
Sources of unearned income include but are not limited to Unemployment Benefits, Child Support, Alimony, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), Pensions, Retirement Benefits, Worker’s Compensation, and Work First New Jersey Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (cash assistance).

Families Experiencing Homelessness

CCR&R's must provide prioritized services to children and families experiencing homelessness allowing you to quickly access services and giving you extra time to submit required documents to establish eligibility.  
 
If you lack a fixed and adequate nighttime residence, you would meet the definition of homeless. Specifically that means living in:

  • Shared housing due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason;

  • Motels, hotels, or campgrounds because you don’t have alternative accommodations;

  • Emergency or transitional shelters;

  • Locations not designed or intended for human sleeping, such as park benches; or

  • Cars, parks, public spaces, bus or train stations, or abandoned buildings.

Migratory children (as such term is defined in section 1309 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965) also qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii) therein.
 
If you are experiencing homelessness you will be given a grace period of up to six (6) months to submit documentation establishing eligibility for the Child Care Assistance Program while your child(ren) receive child care services. You also will be allowed to substitute housing search or jobs search hours to satisfy the work/school/job training hours requirement.

6/18/24