How can I get help paying for childcare?

There are three primary programs that provide assistance with paying for childcare in Seattle.

For families with low income who are working, looking for work, or going to school:

Washington State Working Connections Child Care (a program of DSHS) provides financial assistance with childcare costs.  

  • Many licensed childcare facilities accept this subsidy, and it can also be used to pay for care provided by a family member, friend or neighbor who meets program requirements. (Note:  the payment amount is around $2 per hour for family, friend or neighbor care)

  • You will need to provide the names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers for each household member 

  • If possible, it is helpful to know your DSHS client identification number and the name and license number of the childcare provider you have chosen

Apply online at washingtonconnection.orgby phone at 1.877.501.2233 or in person at your local DSHS Community Services Office.


For families with low and moderate income who are working:

City of Seattle Childcare Assistance Program helps pay for childcare.

  • Typically this program serves families with incomes that are higher than the Working Connections Child Care program limits

  • If you qualify, you will choose from a list of approximately 100 approved providers

Learn more online at

Phone:  206.386.1050


For homeless families:

Childcare Resources assists with short term childcare subsidies. 

Apply by phone at 206.329.5842


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find or choose a childcare provider?

Tip: Call Childcare Resources at 1.800.446.1114 for a free list of childcare providers based on your needs, including information about how to choose a quality program. 

  • Childcare Resources is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

  • Plan for a fifteen minute call

  • Consider calling from a landline if you have limited cell phone minutes 

  • Interpreters are available if needed

What else can I do if I’ve already tried the ideas above and still have not found childcare that works for me?

  • Ask childcare providers if they offer sliding scale pricing or scholarships

  • Ask the family advocate at your child’s school if they know of any school or community based options for students

  • Reach out to other parents or neighborhood groups nearby for recommendations

  • Community agencies or religious organizations that you currently receive services from may be able to help find solutions

  • Capable family and friends may be willing to provide childcare