Child Care Subsidy Program: ‘A lifesaver’ that makes care more affordable

State program promotes school readiness, removes family barriers for education and employment

Henrico County is seeing a surge of interest in a state program that makes child care more affordable for qualifying, low-income parents and caregivers who are working, seeking employment or going to school.

A total of 1,765 Henrico families were served through the Child Care Subsidy Program in June, according to the Department of Social Services. That represents an increase of 161% from 2021.

The uptick has been driven in part by more people returning to work and an overall easing of fears about COVID-19, said Angela Howard, who supervises the Child Care Subsidy Program for Social Services.

Among other factors, she cited increased awareness of the program and the state’s recent expansion of eligibility requirements, which recognized that children are better prepared for school if they receive high-quality child care.

Families enrolled in the program are able to select their child care provider from a list of approved, licensed vendors, and they pay between $0 and $180 per month per child.

“Families have repeatedly expressed how they would not be able to afford to participate in these activities if it wasn’t for the Child Care Subsidy Program,” Howard said. “They feel secure knowing that their children are in an environment that will support their growth and their physical and social development. They also feel secure knowing that their child care services will be consistent and that they won’t have to rely on family or friends for their child care needs.”

Henrico resident Tiara Wellman, a single mother with three daughters, said the program has been “a lifesaver.” After enrolling and selecting a child care provider for her children, she has gone on to earn an associate and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in clinical mental health. She now hopes to pursue a doctorate in mental health.

“I didn’t think I would be a single mother, but where I am now, I just want people to know that it is possible to get up every day,” she said. “Just put your best foot forward.”

Henrico residents can apply for the Child Care Subsidy Program by visiting They also may request an application by mail by calling (804) 652-3116.

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