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County Assistance Office


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The Early Learning Resource Center for Region 8 provides assistance to CAO families who need child care due to work, work-related training and/or attending school. Funded by the PA DHS, OCDEL, subsidized Child Care is paid for in part with tax dollars from the State and Federal government.

In order to qualify for this benefit program, you must be a parent or primary caregiver responsible for children under the age of 13 years of age; and must be referred to the ELRC for child care assistance by the CAO.  In order to qualify, the CAO will determine if a TANF recipient has a need for and is eligible for a child care allowance to enable the parent/caretaker to participate in a CAO approved training/work-related activity (EARN) that is typically at the local CareerLink.  

Anyone who receives cash assistance and is able to work, must look for work, accept any real offer of employment, and keep the job. This process begins with an initial job search. You can participate in an initial job search with help from a caseworker at your local CAO Office (listed below).

What is Subsidized Child Care?

Funded by the PA DHS, OCDEL, subsidized Child Care is child care service paid for in part with tax dollars from the State and Federal government to help aide parents and/or caretakers (P/C) with the cost of child care expenses so that a P/C can go to work and/or obtain education/training.

Families who receive child care benefits as a special allowance through the County Assistance Office (CAO) will have their child care providers reimbursed by the Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC).

Employment Advancement


Retention Network

EARN is designed to assist clients in their transition from welfare to the workforce. The focus of all programming is to decrease dependency on public assistance and move towards self-sufficiency. While the primary focus of the program is to move clients into the workforce, the program is still to provide other activities that will aid in the pursuit of that goal.

Eligibility Criteria

County assistance office (CAO) staff will determine eligibility for the EARN program and refer clients to EARN based on CAO policy and procedures. Individuals eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), excluded from Diversion, may be referred to the EARN contractor. The hours of participation are determined by the household composition for TANF.


  • TANF Clients, you may be eligible for Former TANF benefits, with no gap in funding if you are meeting the work hour requirements when your TANF case closes.

  • Food Stamp Clients, you will need to apply for low income funding (there could be a waitlist) and there could be a gap in funding.

  • How do I apply for assistance with my child care?
    In order to receive assistance with subsidized child care you will need to complete an paper application that you can receive by contacting one of our offices or apply online at
  • How do I know that the application that I submitted online is complete?
    You will received a confirmation number with a "W" behind it. If you do not receive the confirmation number you will need to double check your online application.
  • What happens once I submit my application?
    Your application will be reviewed by a caseworker and entered into the system. If your application is incomplete, you will receive a Missing Information Letter detailing the additional verifications needed. You will have 30 days from the date you submitted your application to submit the missing items. Once your application is complete, a caseworker will determine eligibility. You will receive a letter in the mail informing you of your eligibility status. If your case is determined eligible you will be placed on the waitlist until funds are available. You will be contacted once funds are available and will need to complete an appointment prior to enrollment. If the missing verifications are not received by the Missing Information Letterdue date, your case will be ineligible and you will need to reapply. If your case is determined ineligible, you can reapply.
  • Who is included in my household composition?
    You, your spouse or live-in-companion, and ALL of the child(ren) that reside in your home, not just the child(ren) you are requesting care for.
  • Do I need to include my boyfriend/girlfriend who is the other parent on my application?
    YES. If BOTH of the parents of the child(ren) you are requesting care for reside in the SAME home.
  • Does anyone else have access to my case?
    NO. Unless you list someone that you would like to have access to your case on the Authorization for Release as a collateral contact, our office will not discuss your case with them. Even if you provide a collateral contact we will only discuss limited information with them.
  • Is each parent in the household required to work?
    YES. Each adult in the household is required to show employment of at least 20 hours per week.
  • Am I required to have a job while attending a training or education program to qualify for subsidized child care?
    YES. If you attend an accredited training or education program, you are required to provide verification of a combination of 10 hours a week of employment AND 10 hours a week of continuing education in a classroom setting. Training programs must be nationally accredited and can include adult basic education, English as a second language, 2 or 4-year technical, professional or undergraduate programs. Your training program can be in person or online. **Graduate courses do not qualify as training.**
  • Do I have to file for child support?
    NO. However, we will ask about your custody arrangements and we will ask you about any support that you receive, whether through the court or voluntarily. The ELRC works with the Domestic Relations office to help you obtain income verification on your behalf.
  • How do I find a child care provider in my area?
    You can do your own search online at: WWW.FINDCHILDCARE.PA.GOV or you can reach out to one of our offices to request a list.
  • When do subsidized child care payments begin?
    Subsidized child care payments may begin as soon as funds become available. You will be placed on the wait list IFyou are deemed eligible. The ELRC will notify you in writing and you will need to do the following within 30 days: Complete an appointment; Choose a provider; AND Enroll your child in an approved child care program or confirm a future start date.
  • Does the ELRC help with back payment to provider once funds are available?
    NO. You will be responsible to pay for your child care privately until funds are available. The ELRC will only assist with payments once the funds have been authorized to be released from the state.
  • How is a provider paid for the care of my child?
    If you meet the guidelines: The ELRC will pay a part of your child care cost. This is called a subsidy payment. You will pay a part of the cost. This is called the family co-payment. The subsidy payment and the family co-pay go directly to the child care provider. NOTE: If your co-payment and the ELRC payment does not pay the full amount that your child care provider charges, the provider can charge you the difference between the subsidy payment and their private charges.
  • How is the payment to the provider from the ELRC calulated?
    Every family is required to pay a co-payment which is deducted from the reimbursement rate that the ELRC pays directily to the child care provider. For example: The Familiy's Co-payment responsibilty is $40.00 per week paid directly to the child care provider. Provider rate is $25.00 per day. The child is eligible for 5 days of Full-Time care. $25.00 per day provider rate x 5 days per week of eligible care $125.00 weekly provider rate $125.00 weekly provider rate - $40.00 family's co-payment resposibility $85.00 is paid by the ERLC for the week of care. In addition to the ELRC assessed weekly family co-payment, the provider may charge additional fees. If the provider chooses, they may charge the parent the difference between what ELRC pays and what the provider actually charges for care. Families are encouraged to talk with their provider about their charges/fees.
  • How much is my family required to pay for childcare?
    Your weekly co-payment that is to be paid directly to your provider is based on your family size and gross annual income, NOT the number of children requesting care or day/hours that care is needed. Your co-payment is per family not per child. In addition to the weekly family co-payment, the provider may charge additional fees. If the provider chooses, they may charge the parent the difference between what ELRC pays and what the provider actually charges for care. Families are encouraged to talk with their provider about their charges.
  • How much does the ELRC pay my daycare provider?
    The ELRC payment amount to a provider is determined based on the age of the child, the type of care selected (family, group, center, relative) and the provider’s private rates. The ELRC has a maximum allowance limit that can be reimbursed to any provider. Families are encouraged to talk with their provider about their charges.
  • What is the difference between Full-Time and Part-Time hours?
    Full-Time is for any days the child attends and the parent schedule supports more than 5 hours per day. Part-time is for any days that are less than 4 hours 59 minutes and the parent schedule supports 4 hours and 59 minutes or less per day
  • When and where do I pay my co-payment?
    It is the provider’s responsibility to collect the co-payment on a weekly basis. Co-payments are due on 1st day of the week that your child attends care DIRECTLYto the provider. The co-payment is delinquent if it is not paid by the last day of the service week. The provider will report to the ELRC the following Monday that your co-payment is late. If a proivder notifies the ELRC that you did not pay your co-payments as required, you will be notify in writing with a Notice of Adverse Action. You must pay your co-payment in full by the requested date on the Notice Of Adverse Action or your ELRC funding will end. Pay attention to the number of Mondays in the month. For example: July has 4 Mondays, August has 5 Mondays. If your co-payment is $5 per week, you will pay $20 for the month of July and $25 for the month of August.
  • Can an immediate family member be paid to watch my child?
    YES. The relative must be 18 years of age or older, can not to live in the SAME home of the child receiving care and the care must be provided at a different physical address then where the child resides. If your relative that lives with you would like to watch your child they may do so, but we will be unable to assist you with paying for your child care expenses. For more information, check our the Relaitive Provider section.
  • What happens if my case closes with a delinquent co-payment not paid?
    You will need to reapply. If your new case is deemed eligible, you will need to pay the delinquent co-payment in full to the provider that the delinquent fees occured at before the ELRC will authorize funds for your new case. If you move from one county/ELRC Region to another county/ELRC Region and your case closed with a delinquent co-payment not satisfied, you are welcome to apply in the new county/ELRC Region but will still need to pay the delinquent co-payment to the provider that the delinquent fees accured at before the new ELRC will authorize funds for your new case.
  • What happens once my family is deemed eligible?
    You will be notified in writing of eligible status and placed on the wait list until funds are available. Your eligibility status does not guarantee that funding is available and there is often a wait list for assistance. Once funding is available, you will be notified in writing that an adult family member MUST meet with a family support specialist prior to subsidy beginning.
  • What happens if my family is deemed ineligible?
    You will receive a Child Care Ineligible Notice that will inform you of the reason(s) that your family is ineligible. You are welcome to reapply. Or if you feel that the ELRC has made an error, you can appeal the decision. Directions on how to appeal are on the Child Care Ineligibility Notice that you will receive.
  • What changes do I need to report?
    It is important to contact the ELRC office immediately if there is a change to: Your address; Your telephone number; Who is providing child care for my child; The number of days and hours my child needs care. You MUST contact the ELRC office within 10 days if any of the following changes occur: My family’s gross monthly income exceeds income limits; A child in the household no longer has a need for care or is no longer residing in the household; A parent or caretaker in my family becomes an owner or director of a child care facility; My family’s assets are over $1 million; or I adopt my foster child.​
  • When does my child's enrollment start?
    Your child's enrollment can begin the 1st day the funds are available if your child is already enrolled at a provider. However, you must complete a face to face appointment either in person or by telephone. If you do not have a provider currently, you will need to notify the ELRC of a projected start date at a provider within 30 days of the funds being authorized.
  • Why should I enroll my child in daycare?
    Every child should have access to a safe environment where they can thrive and grow while they learn to develop interpersonal and socialization skills, attend an early learning program that will prepare them for kindergarten, and to give you a peace of mind that your child is being well cared for so that you can focus on your education.
  • Do I need to use child care every day that the child is eligible for?
    NO. However utilizing the eligible days for child care will ensure that you have available and reliable child care. Discuss your days and hours of need with the ELRC.
  • When can I request that care be suspended?
    If you need to make a change due to your work, education or training schedule, you must call the ELRC. You must report to the ELRC if your child will be absent for more than five consective enrollment days in a row. You could lose the ELRC’s help in paying for your child care costs if your child has excessive, unexplained absences. Your child may continue at the same level of care until your next scheduled redetermination date unless you request your care to be suspended. Your care can be suspened for any reason. Care is typically suspended on the "6th" missed day of care. Your provider is paid for 5 days of continuous absence and you are sitll resposible for your co-payment. The ELRC wiil suspend your child on the 1st day that you request care to be suspended. However, please be advised that the provider can charge you privately for the missed days. Be sure to discuss your request for suspended care with your provider as they can charge you privately for the missed days if you chose to suspened prior to day "6".
  • How many days can my child miss at the provider?
    If your child is absent for more than 40 enrollment days between July 1st and June 30th, you will be responsible to pay the provider the daily rate for each day of absence beginning with the 41st absence. You must pay the provider’s daily rate in addition to your weekly co-payment. You will receive an Absence Warning Letter once your child reaches day "35". Please be aware that attendance invoices are typically a month behind and the ELRC may not be notified until after your child may have reached day "40". This is a cumulative number per child, regardless if child transfers to a different provider during the fiscal year. (July 1st - June 30th) Suspended days and provider closed days are not considered days of absence.


You can reach your CAO case worker through the Call Change Center at

(877) 395-8930

Or though you local County Assistance Office

Centre County (814) 863-6571

Juniata County (717) 436-2158 

Mifflin County (717) 248-6746

Northumberland County (570) 988-5900

Snyder County (570) 374-8126

Union County (570) 524-2201

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