Child Care Information Services|
Child Care Information Services (CCIS) provides information on and access to safe and affordable child care services. Following eligibility determination, CCIS can also provide child care subsidies to low-income families who are working or enrolled in training or education programs. CCIS services are available to all Lancaster County residents.
Child Care Provider Information and Referral: Lancaster County residents can gain access to the area’s early childhood education programs, search for child care providers, and learn about each provider’s Keystone Stars Rating by visiting www.compass.state.pa.us/childcaresearch or contacting the CCIS office directly. Information services are available at no cost, regardless of household income.
As you search for quality child care, reach for Keystone STARS. Choosing the right child care for your family is a huge decision, but chances are you have to make this decision right away - and it has to be close and not cost too much. Keystone STARS helps you know what to expect when picking a program. Child care programs that participate in Keystone STARS meet standards for teacher quality, classroom and learning activities, working with you to support your child, and managing their program. Programs can earn from one to four Stars – the more Stars, the higher the quality. You know that they are meeting certain quality standards by their STAR rating – it can help narrow your search and get you to the right program faster. Visit www.papromiseforchildren.com and select “Keystone STARS” for more information.
Child Care Subsidies: CCIS provides child care subsidies to low-income parents/caretakers whose children are under the age of 13 if the parent is working and/or enrolled in training/education programs. In addition, older children (ages 13 to 19) who are developmentally disabled and unable to care for themselves may also qualify for subsidized care. Parents/caretakers may choose any child care facility that participates in the CCIS program. CCIS pays a portion of the child care cost directly to the child care provider, and parent/caretakers pay a small portion, known as a co-payment, based on family size and income.
Choosing A Quality Program
A quality early learning program - in child care, Head Start, or preschool - will help prepare your child for success in school and in life.
Here are things to look for when choosing your child’s early learning program:
- Is this person or program a safe place for children? Does it meet the necessary regulations? Have there been any complaints against this program? Pennsylvania's Department of Public Welfare (DPW) regulates child care programs (family child care homes, group child care homes and child care centers) to make sure they meet minimum health and safety standards. Programs are required to post their certificate of registration or compliance, so if you don't see it, ask about it.
- Does the child care or Head Start program participate in Keystone STARS? Programs in Keystone STARS earn a STAR 1 up to a STAR 4 rating by meeting quality standards. Count the Stars - the more STARS, the higher the quality.
- Do teachers have training in early childhood education? Teachers in quality programs have education in child development, such as a Child Development Associate (CDA), Associate's or Bachelor's degree.
- Does the program provide activities appropriate for your child's age and development? Teachers should observe your child's skill level and provide activities that will help your child grow.
- Does the program keep families involved in their child's progress? Quality programs will talk with you about how your child is learning and suggest ways you can help your child learn at home.
- Are the children happy and involved? Learning should be fun!
Count the STARS. The higher the STAR level, the higher the quality.
For more information and to find a Keystone STARS program near you, visit Compass and www.papromiseforchildren.com
Program Qualifications/Income Guidelines
In order to qualify for CCIS child care subsidies, applicants must meet the following conditions:
- Each adult family member must work at least 20 hours per week, or be enrolled in a state approved training program for at least 10 hours per week and be working at least 10 hours per week.
- The hours of subsidized child care must coincide with the parents'/caretakers’ hours of work, education or training.
Maximum Yearly Family Income (May 2013)
- The parent/caretaker is responsible for paying the child care provider the assigned co-payment. This co-payment varies according to income and the number of people in the family. Families only have one co-payment regardless of how many children they have in care. The provider bills CCIS for the balance due and CCIS makes the maximum child care allowance payment.
- Parents/caretakers must report all income including child support.
- The Children and Youth Agency handles referrals to the program for foster families. Income documentation is not necessary, but work hours must be validated.
- Teen parents are eligible to enroll in an approved program and attendance is required.
- Children are eligible for subsidies from birth up to age 13. However, if the child has been diagnosed as developmentally or physically delayed, he/she may be eligible for care through age 19, pending verification from a licensed physician.
- CCIS is allotted a certain number of participants based on the available program funding. If all slots are full at the time of approved application, the child will be placed on a waiting list.
See our frequently asked questions below or contact us for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What happens if I lose my job while receiving CCIS subsidies?
A: If you receive TANF benefits, contact your caseworker; otherwise, contact your CCIS eligibility specialist. You could be eligible for up to 60 days of child care for involuntary loss of employment.
Q: How do I apply for subsidy?
A: You can stop by the office for an application or download one from the link below. Call 717.393.4004 to request a paper application via mail.
Q: How can I find a child care center near my home?
A: You may stop by the CCIS office and ask to speak to a resource and referral specialist or call 717.393.4004. Specialists are equipped with the most up-to-date information about licensed programs, including Keystone STARS rated programs, to meet your specific needs. Remember this service is FREE to all families.
Q: What if I need to change my day care provider?
A: Every eligible family is assigned an eligibility specialist and this is your primary point of contact His/her name can be found within your determination paperwork or you can speak with the receptionist who can identify your assigned eligibility specialist. You must notify your specialist before you change providers so that payment can be coordinated
Q: How does my day care become a CCIS provider?
A: If you represent a licensed center or in-home group care, or a family member, friend or neighbor caring for children funded by CCIS, call 717.393.4004, extension 3303. Details are also available at www.compass.state.pa.us
Louise Brown, Director
717.393.4004 or 1.800.937.4546
Lancaster City Office
Community Action Program of Lancaster County
Child Care Information Services
601 S. Queen Street
P.O. Box 599
Lancaster, PA 17608-0599
400 Chestnut Street
Columbia, PA 17512
Child Care Provider Regulations
Child Care Works
Lancaster Association for the Education of Young Children