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.


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











Income Limits at 250% FPL











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











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.