Frequently Asked Questions about Voucher Childcare
Our office helps many people who are receiving childcare support for the first time, and these parents have many questions about the program and how it works. Some of the most common are listed below. If you do not see the answer to your question, please contact our staff directly at one of our two offices, and we will be happy to answer your question over the phone or the EEC website.
What is Voucher Childcare?
Voucher childcare is a form of financial assistance that helps eligible parents and legal guardians pay for safe, reliable childcare.
How does the Voucher Child Care program work?
Voucher child care allows you to choose from a large list of licensed child care providers, or a relative or friend of your choice who registers with New England Farm Workers’ Council as an In-home or Relative provider. If you choose unlicensed care from someone who is not a relative, care must be done in your own home. The provider must also submit to a Background Records Check (BRC) through the Department of Children & Family (DCF), as well as a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) check,
Who is eligible to receive childcare vouchers?
Parents or legal guardians must be income-eligible and either working, attending school, looking for a job or in job training -- or a combination of these activities. There is also a limited number of vouchers for parents with disabilities as well as for families with children having disabilities.
How do I apply for a voucher?
If you receive cash assistance from the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), or your case has closed due to earnings in the last 12 months, call your worker at DTA and request a Childcare Referral. Once you receive your Referral, call New England Farm Workers’ Council for an appointment to get a childcare voucher.
If you do not receive cash assistance from DTA, call New England Farm Workers’ Council to apply for an Income Eligible Voucher. If funding is not available at that time, an intake will be done over the phone and you will be added to the wait list. Every year, you will receive a letter with an update on your status. In order to remain on the waiting list, you will need to respond by the date in the letter. As openings and funds become available, applicants on the wait list will be notified on a first-come, first-served basis.
What types of childcare are available through this program?
You can select between the following childcare options:
Family Childcare Providers are licensed by the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) to provide care in their homes for children form birth to 13 years of age.
Center-based Providers are licensed by EEC and are approved for Infant, Toddler, and Preschool, as well as school-aged children up to 13 years.
School-age Programs are usually licensed by EEC and are approved for children aged 5 through 13.
Summer Camp Programs are certified by the DPH in a city or town to operate during summer break only.
How do I choose the right childcare provider for my family?
The staff at New England Farm Workers’ Council can provide you with referrals to approved, licensed family childcare homes and childcare centers. This service is provided to all parents free of charge. New England Farm Workers’ Council does not recommend one type of care over another, and will not recommend any specific child care program. The names given are referrals, NOT recommendations. Before making a decision, you should visit several possible providers and ask questions. The time spent doing this is well worth the effort, for your peace of mind and your child’s well being. You can also download the Massachusetts guide to Choosing Child Care (in English) or La selección del programa de cuidado de niños (en español).
What happens after I have chosen a child care provider?
Once you have selected a childcare provider that meets your family’s needs, you should call New England Farm Workers’ Council to schedule an appointment with a Daycare Voucher Specialist to get your childcare voucher.
If you have additional questions, please call 413-272-2207 (Springfield) , 413-236-5890 (Pittsfield) or 413-475-3656 (Greenfield & Northampton) and speak to our staff. Se habla español.