Helping People….Changing Lives

Help Paying for Child Care

In general, families are eligible for financial assistance if they meet the state’s low income guidelines and need child care to work, look for work, or attend employment training.

Contact the Chautauqua Child Care Council for more information at 716-661-9430 ext. 2293 or email

Your County Department of Social Services determines family eligibility based on income, reasons for needing day care, and your child’s age and individual needs.

In most cases, families receiving a child care subsidy can choose any legal child care provider.

If you are interested in finding out if you are eligible for a child care subsidy, or if you would like to apply for a subsidy for your child, contact your local Department of Social Services. If you want general information about child care subsidies, Chautauqua Child Care Council can also help you.

The average cost of full-time child care in Chautauqua County is $140 – $190 per week per child.  We understand child care is a major family expense, along with housing, food and taxes.  It is not uncommon for some families to spend half of their income to place their child in a quality program.  Although fees vary greatly, the normal percentage spent on child care is 10% to 20% of the gross income.  For example: If someone makes $33,000, the range could be from $3,300 – $6,600/year (monthly budget worksheet). 

In some programs there are other program charges such as meals, late pick ups, transportation and trips.  There may even be a penalty for late payments and absences.

It is always wise to ask the provider the fees and to get it in writing.

Public Care Subsidies

Department of Health and Human Services

The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has the Block Grant which helps working families or parent in education programs with child care expenses if they are eligible by providing a full range of publicly funded social services and cash assistance programs. Families whose income meets state guidelines and who meet other criteria, may be able to receive a subsidy to offset some of their child care costs. If you are interested in learning more about the availability of child care subsidies in your county, please contact your DHHS office.

DHHS of Chautauqua County
HRC Building

7 N. Erie Street
Mayville, NY 14757

Mayville area residents please call 716-753-4133; Jamestown 716-661-7133; Dunkirk 716-363-4133 to apply for child care subsidies

OCFS Child Care Subsidy Information (click here)

Financial Assistance:

For information on tax credits and other programs that can assist working families in New York State visit: or call 1-800-342-3009. 

Tax Credits – Federal or State earned income credits for child care expenses

The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit helps working families pay expenses for the care of children under the age of 13.  The credit is worth between 20 percent and 35 percent of these expenses, depending on a family’s income. The size of the credit depends on the number of children in care, family income, and the amount paid for child care during the tax year.  

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable tax credit for low and moderate income families with children.  The EITC is based on family income and number of children in the family.  Single and two-parent families are eligible to the credit as long as one parent is working  Check with your state department of revenue for more information.  Click Here to go directly to the IRS website for more information about his credit. 

  • FSA – Flexible spending account that can be established to pay for child care expenses while the parent is at work 
  • Scholarships – Some child care programs offer a discount in the form of scholarships to pay for child care 
  • Tribal benefits – Native Americans can contact their local administration & Department of Social Services to see if their tribe offers child care benefits

 Don’t be afraid to ask your provider:

  • Sliding Fee Scales – Providers may have an income based sliding fee scale (typically given to parent(s) who do not qualify for assistance)
  • Multi-Child Discounts – If you have more than one child in care at the same location, the provider may give you a small discount per hour/week on the (2nd or more children)

Special Needs Child Care:

The rate of payment for child care services provided to a child determined to have special needs is the actual cost of care up to the statewide limit of the highest weekly, daily, part-day or hourly market rate for child care services are provided per week regardless of the type of child care provider used or the age of the child.

The highest full-time market rate in the State is:

  • Weekly: $340
  • Daily: $68
  • Part-Day: $45
  • Hourly: $18.75