Paying for Child Care

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Emergency Child Care Voucher Program (Whatcom County and Skagit Counties)

Short-term assistance with paying for child care may be available for you or someone you know:

  • If you are experiencing a medical emergency, loss of wages, or other unexpected hardship
  • If you have no other financial resources or child care alternatives and continuity of care is threatened
  • If you live in Whatcom or Skagit County

To apply, call or visit to talk with program staff and fill out an application. Upon approval, you will need to obtain the necessary billing information and signature from a licensed child care provider. Approved payments will be made directly to the child care provider. The Emergency Child Care Voucher program is located at Opportunity Council, 1111 Cornwall, Suite 200, Bellingham, WA 98225 or 416 Main Street, Mt. Vernon, WA, 98273.

For more information, call (360) 734-5121 ext 227 and ask to speak to someone about emergency child care vouchers or email

Working Connections Child Care Program (Statewide)

The Department of Social and Human Services helps families pay for child care through the Working Connections Child Care program. Depending on your income, you may qualify for assistance to access quality, licensed child care at a greatly reduced rate. You may apply directly by calling 1-877-501-2233 or online at the DSHS Online Application for Services.

See also the DSHS Child Care Subsidy website for income requirements and subsidy guidelines.

Alternatively, you may call the Child Care Aware of Washington Family Call Center, 1-800-446-1114, and speak with a child care referral specialist for information and advice about locating child care and applying for the Working Connections subsidy.

Homeless Grace Period (Statewide)

If you or somebody you know is experiencing homelessness, the DSHS Homeless Grace Period may be an option. As a first step, you are strongly encouraged to call Child Care Aware of Washington Family Call Center. 1-800-446-1114. A Child Care Referral Specialist can help you: 1) find out if you are eligible, 2) navigate the state subsidy system, and 3) connect you with additional resources.

You are eligible for the program if you:

  • Live temporarily with family or friends
  • Do not have a home
  • Live in a shelter, car, or park
  • Live in transitional housing
  • Are income eligible
  • Other temporary situations could also qualify – call to confirm eligibility.

You may also apply for the Homeless Child Care Program directly by calling DSHS 1-877-501-2233 or online at the DSHS Online Application for Services.