This guide is part of a series, published in The Reader and on, that spotlights the experiences of low-income, working families in Omaha.

The past two Omaha Jobs features — “When Low-Income Parents Work Long Hours, Where Do Their Kids Go?” and “Falling Through the Cracks” — explored challenges community members face in finding quality child care. This month, The Reader digs deeper into resources available to low-income families raising children in the local community.

Depending on your income level, the Child Care Subsidy Program might cover your child care costs. | Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Child Care Subsidy Program

Struggling to pay for child care? Check out the Child Care Subsidy Program, offered via the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The program may cover some — or all — of your child care costs. For more details on the below information, visit

How to Qualify

To qualify, you (and your partner, if you have one) must do one or more of these: work, attend school or trainings, go to medical or therapy visits for yourself or your kids, be sick or injured, and/or partake in Employment First via Aid to Dependent Children (ADC). For more info on ADC:

If you make under 185%* of the federal poverty level (FPL) for your household size (and do at least one of the above), you’re eligible. Every 12-18 months, your eligibility will be redetermined; if you’re making under 200%* of the FPL, you’re still eligible. Search “federal poverty guidelines” at

Visit ACCESSNebraska to apply: Applications are generally processed within 30 days. Your child care authorization is processed the same day as your application.

Know someone who needs help but doesn’t speak English? Translation services are available to help navigate the program.

Figuring Out the Math

Unsure about the math? The formula is FPL × 1.85 for initial eligibility and FPL × 2 for redetermination. So, if you’re a family of two, do $17,420 × 1.85 = $32,227. If you make less, you’re eligible. Come redetermination, do $17,420 × 2 = $34,840. If you make less, you’re still eligible. If you make less than the FPL for your family size, the state covers 100% of your child care costs. If you make more than the FPL, you pay 7% of your gross income toward child care.

Selecting a Child Care Provider

You can select the child care provider that’s the best fit for your family, as long as the provider is approved by DHHS. If you want a provider who’s not already approved, such as a family member or friend, you can complete a referral process to get them registered.

The program is for kids 12 and under. If your child has special needs that necessitate care beyond age 12, you can receive a subsidy up to age 19.

*These percentages are part of a pilot program ending September 30, 2023, when percentages will revert to 130% for eligibility and 185% for redetermination.

Thanks to Olga Dack with the Nebraska DHHS Office of Communications for providing supplementary information.

Additional Resources

Struggling to find child care that matches your family’s needs?

Having a hard time putting nutritious food on the table?

Want to brush up on parenting skills?

Need to make sure your child is prepared for elementary school?

Strapped for cash?

Want to view more child care resources?

From Nov. 2020 – Aug. 2022, Leah reported on social justice, including employment equity, economic justice, educational inequality, and the experiences and history of Nebraska’s LGBTQ+ community. Although she’s now pursuing a PhD in Communication, Information and Media at Rutgers University, Leah remains a diehard Reader fan and wholeheartedly supports all things Reader. You can connect with her via Twitter (@cates_leah).

From Nov. 2020 - Aug. 2022, Leah reported on social justice, including employment equity, economic justice, educational inequality, and the experiences and history of Nebraska's LGBTQ+ community. She originally...

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