For Parents and Guardians

Help Paying for Child Care


The Minnesota Department of Human Services has Child Care Assistance Programs for low-income families needing assistance to help pay for child care to support employment, job search, and remedial and postsecondary education that will lead to employment.

There are different programs that families may be eligible for based on a variety of eligibility criteria. They are the Early Learning Scholarships, MFIP/DWP Child Care Assistance, Transition Year Child Care Assistance, and Basic Sliding Fee Child Care Assistance.


Early Learning Scholarships 

The Early Learning Scholarships give families financial support to help pay for high-quality early care and education to prepare their young children for school. 

The scholarship amount is up to $7,500 for a 12 month period. The Early Learning Scholarship must be used at a Minnesota child care or early learning program that is a 3 or 4 star-rated Parent Aware program.

Questions? 651-641-6604

Click here for an application and instructions on how to apply


MFIP/DWP Child Care Assistance

This program serves families that receive cash and/or food portion benefits through either the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) or the Diversionary Work Program (DWP). In order to be eligible for child care assistance through this program an employment plan must be created with an employment services worker. This program is fully funded and has no waiting lists.


Transition Year Child Care Assistance 

Families that left MFIP/DWP Financial Assistance within the last twelve months are served by this program. This program only supports working parents or parents needing care in order to look for a job. Transition Year Child Care Assistance cannot pay child care while parents attend any type of education program. In order to be eligible for Transition Year Child Care Assistance families must have received MFIP/DWP financial benefits for a least three out of the last six months prior to the benefits ending. This program is fully funded and has no waiting lists.


Basic Sliding Fee Child Care Assistance

This program serves families that do not meet criteria for MFIP/DWP or Transition Year Child Care Programs and need child care assistance to support employment, job search, or remedial and postsecondary education. This program is not fully funded and may have a waiting list.

Contact the human services office in your county to determine which Child Care Assistance program you may be eligible for.  If the county has no funding for the Basic Sliding Fee Child Care Assistance Program, you can ask to be placed on the waiting list.


Think Small administers the Basic Sliding Fee Child Care Assistance Program for Ramsey County Residents.

If you live in Ramsey County and would like assistance in understanding which Child Care Assistance Program you may be eligible for, call the Intake Screening Line at 651-641-6665.  If you don't live in Ramsey County contact your county's human service program.


Do you have questions? Call your county's program. 


Child Care Assistance Program

MFIP, DWP, or  Transition Year programs

Anoka 763-717-7711


Carver 952-361-1721


Dakota 651-554-5611















Additional information to help understand Child Care Assistance Programs in Minnesota: