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Child Care Services

This service provides support for families with children to enable the caretaker to hold a job, obtain training or meet special needs of the parent or child. Child care may also be provided in child abuse cases to help protect the child. If you are working, you may have to pay a portion of your child care expenses. Contact a DSS office to get more information on the program rules and fees.


Child care services are available for children under the age of 13. The Division of Social Services determines eligibility based on a family's income and need for service. The income limit is currently set at 185% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). If your child is older than 13 and has a special need, you still may be eligible to receive child care.

2023-2024 Child Care Income Limits

2023-2024 CHILD CARE INCOME LIMITS (Effective October 1, 2023 - September 30, 2024)

Family Size

Maximum Gross Monthly Income at Application
185% FPL

Maximum Gross Monthly Income at Redetermination
200% FPL

Maximum Gross Monthly Income During Authorization
85% SMI









































2023-2024 Child Care Copayment Scale

2023-2024 CHILD CARE COPAYMENT SCALE (Effective October 1, 2023 - September 30, 2024)

Family Size

Excessive Financial Burden for Copayments
< 40% FPL

Waived Copayments
< 70% FPL

4% of Gross Income Applied to Copayments
> 70%-105% FPL

9% of Gross Income Applied to Copayments
> 105%-200% FPL



















































To be financially eligible for child care assistance, a family's gross monthly income must be at or below 185% of the FPL for the family size.

If a family's gross monthly income has increased to between 185% and 200% of the FPL at their yearly redetermination, then the family will receive a graduated phase-out of child care assistance for a twelve-month period before the child care case is closed.

Any time that a family's gross monthly income exceeds 85% of the SMI or the family no longer has a need for child care assistance, the child care case will close.

 You may choose your child care provider from:

  • A State-licensed Child Care Center
  • A State-licensed Child Care family home

Choosing the right program for your child is one of the most important parenting decisions you will make. For more information on choosing a quality child care provider please click the link below.

Office of Child Care Licensing

New Consumer Education Website: My Child DE

The Division of Social Services is pleased to announce the launch of Delaware's first comprehensive consumer education website, "My Child DE". On this site parents, providers and the public at large will find information on early care and educational programming in our state. The site will also assist parents in making more informed choices regarding childcare. Other information that can be found on the site includes various child care options and how to access them, quality rating information, information on developmental milestones and developmental screenings, licensing requirements, criminal background check requirements, monitoring results, DSS services, etc. We look forward to all feedback as we continue to improve and enhance the site. Please use the following link to access My Child DE

For information on Delaware Stars :

Delaware Stars for Early Success is a Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) for early care and education programs, used to assess, improve and communicate the level of quality.

Visit their website for more information on eligibility or click here for the application process for the Delaware Early Education and Child Care Stabilization Fund.

For more information select Flyer for Delaware Stars

Child Care Locator Service

Need help choosing child care? Please call Children and Families First at 1-800-220-3092.

Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Plan

You can find Delaware's Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Plan on the Publications and Forms page.

Assistance for Relatives

The Delaware Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities provides resources to assist grandparents or other relatives who are raising another person's children. Please select this link for more information.

2024 Delaware Local Child Care Market Rate Survey: Final Report

2024 Market Rate Survey

2021 Delaware Local Child Care Market Rate Survey: Final Report

2021 MRS Final Report

Child Care Provider Daily Reimbursement Rates

The Division of Social Services used the 2018 Delaware Local Child Care Market Rate Survey results to set the provider reimbursement rates for child care services subsidized by the State. The child care reimbursement rates are based on the providers geographical location, the ages of the children served, and the hours of care. DSS established the child care reimbursement rates to ensure that low-income families receiving child care subsidy have equal access to early education and care.

Click here for Delaware's Special Needs Legislative Report, May 2023

Click here for Appendix A Cost Estimation

Click here for Delaware's 2021 Cost of Care Study: Final Report

FFY 2023 Purchase of Care (POC) Child Care Rates

Daily Rates Effective July 1, 2023

By County


As required by HB 250 Section 183. The Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) and the Department of Education (DOE), in consultation with the Delaware Early Childhood Council (DECC), has created a cost of quality child care estimator tool, which enables the state to model the actual costs of providing quality child care. Delaware engaged Prenatal to Five Fiscal Strategies (P5FS) to support the development of the cost of quality child care estimator tool customized for the state of Delaware. The work on the cost estimator tool was informed by Delaware's 2021 Cost of Care Study, the 2021 Market Rate Survey, the child care wage scale work completed in 2022, national and local experts, advocates, and early childhood educators. P5FS is led by national early childhood finance experts Jeanna Capito and Simon Workman, P5FS has developed cost estimation models for several states and communities. Their models have informed child care subsidy rate setting and other early childhood policies and are aligned with cost model guidance provided by the U.S. Office of Child Care for alternative rate setting under the Child Care Development Block Grant. We are excited to share the cost of care estimator tools, you will find links to Delaware's Center and Family Child Care Cost Estimation Tools below. We are also pleased to share the Cost Estimation Model Report for the project below.

Child Care Center Cost of Quality Care Estimator Tool

Family Child Care Cost of Quality Care Estimator Tool

Cost of Quality Estimator Tool Report

Child Care Estimator Memo 09-2020