Finding affordable child care is a pressing problem for many low income parents in Las Vegas. The rates typically charged by babysitters and nannies and even drop off centers are clearly out of reach for someone trying to support and feed a family on a minimum wage. Furthermore, for anyone working the night shift or other unusual hours, when the drop off centers are closed, finding affordable care is even harder. There are also many parents who are currently unemployed, who want to work, but hesitate out of fear for their children's safety. What is stopping them is concern about who would care for their children and how they will be able to afford the service. The good news is that programs are available which offer subsidized child care for needy Las Vegas families. In case you are not familiar with these programs and you or someone you know might benefit, this article provides the basis information you need to know.
Las Vegas Urban League Child Care Subsidy Program2470 N. Decatur Suite 150, Las Vegas, NV 89108
The Las Vegas Urban League Child Care Subsidy Program provides financial assistance to eligible families in need of child care who cannot otherwise afford it. The program makes it possible for the parent or other caregiver to work.
The Las Vegas Urban League Program works with two other organizations, the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services (DWSS) and the Children's Cabinet. Together they help make quality child care more affordable for the children of Southern Nevada by connecting families to programs and resources that can help them.
Additional information about the program can be obtained by visiting or calling the Urban League. An application for child care subsidy program benefits is also available online by going to either of the following websites: vul.org/early-childhood-connectionor dwss.nv.gov/pdf/CC_2151_WCA.pdf.
The Child Care Subsidy Program pays a portion of the cost for child care based on household income and size of the family. The following table shows the maximum monthly income for eligibility for benefits for different family sizes, as of 10/1/15.
|Family Size||Maximum Monthly Income|
In addition to meeting the maximum income requirements, before your application can be approved, you will need to supply all of the following:
- Social Security Number for all members of the household
- Proof of citizenship for all children applying for subsidy benefits and acceptable ID for all adult household members
- Purpose of care: Parent must be engaged in an approved activity, such as working, seeking employment, attending school or training, participating in DWSS approved activities designed to prepare for employment, or other activity authorized by the Child Care Subsidy Program
- Proof of Nevada residency
- Proof of all sources of household income
- If children over age 13 are in need of care, documentation of special need
- Immunization records for children under age 6
It is the parents' responsibility to choose a suitable child care provider. There are basically two types of care you can select: licensed child care or care provided a friend or neighbor. Licensed child care is monitored by a licensing agency and must meet designated licensing criteria. There are three categories of licensed child care depending on where the care takes place and how many children are being served. Licensed Family Child Care takes place in the home of a person who is licensed to take care of a maximum of six children. Licensed Group Home Child Care takes place in the home of a person who is licensed to take care of up to 12 children. Licensed Child Care Centers are facilities other than an individual's home that are especially designed for child care and serve more than 12 children.
In contrast, child care provided by a friend or neighbor is not licensed or monitored. The children can be cared for either in the caregiver's home or the client's home. However, the provider cannot be the child's natural or adoptive parent or guardian or live in the same residence as the child. The provider also cannot have an active child care subsidy case.
All providers, licensed and unlicensed, must be registered with the Subsidy Program. Non-licensed providers must also attend orientation and training before they can receive payment from the program for their services.
Unfortunately, the demand is greater than the availability of funds, so many parents are placed on a waiting list. Applicants who are found eligible will be given a certificate showing the names of the eligible children, the dates the subsidized benefits begin and end, any co-payments that are due, the subsidy amount and percentage, and the Maximum Daily Rate for the State of Nevada. If the child care provider charges more than the maximum rate, it is the parent's responsibility to pay the excess.
Tinker Town Learn and Play Centers4339 East Bonanza Road, Las Vegas, NV 89110 | 1-702-459-5222
6200 Smoke Ranch Road, Las Vegas, NV 89108 | 1-702-242-3222
Tinker Town Learn and Play Centers is one of the child care facilities which accepts subsidies from the Las Vegas Urban League. Tinker Town is open 24/7 and accepts infants and children from as young as 10 days old up to age 12. Many of the parents who bring their children there work at night. The clientele includes such varied occupations as police officers, nurses, line cooks, and strippers.
The rates for those who don't qualify for a subsidy seem reasonable. Parents have a choice of paying hourly, half-day, full day, and multiple day rates. The cost of care is highest for those under a year old and decreases for older kids with each age bracket. More details at http://www.tinker-town.com
Children's Choice Learning Center at MGM Grand3799 Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89109
The MGM Grand Children's Choice Learning Center is a child care facility for employees of MGM Resorts International. On a typical day, more than 300 children are brought to the center, which employs more than 100 caretakers. Nurses are on staff and the facility includes a "sniffles and snuggles" infirmary.
There is a separate area of the center for infants. The caregiver can send parents text message updates on feedings, diaper changes, and naps via an iPad app called Baby Connect.
The Children's Choice Learning Center has classrooms for children grouped according to age, from 13-24 weeks up to preschool and first grade. After school care is available for children up to age 12.
Rates, which include meals, activities, and for young kids, school also, vary depending on the child's age and time of care. There is a higher rate for last minute drop offs. MGM and Station Casino employees get a 20-25% discount over regular rates. Figure on about $200 plus the cost of transportation for 5 days per week care.
The various Station casinos also have Children's Choice Learning Centers for employees of those casinos to bring their kids.
Other employers might also offer plans for reduced rate child care. But if you don't qualify for a subsidy or a discounted rate from your place of employment, check to see if the child care facility you are considering offers rates on a sliding scale. Some places do. Or if you are a student or your spouse is in the military, you might be eligible for a subsidy or other financial assistance to help meet your child care expenses. Lastly, when filing your taxes, don't forget that working families can use the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit Form 2441 to take a tax credit on their child care costs.