Paying for Child Care

Child Care Resource understands working families of Erie County and WNY need high-quality, affordable, accessible care and learning for their children. With rising child care costs, this can be a challenge. We’re here to help you navigate your way through learning how to pay for child care.

A child holding some coins

How Much Does Child Care Cost?

Each year, Erie County releases average market rates. They are a guideline of the cost of child care from New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS). The market rate is based on the county where the child care is provided, the type of setting, and the age of the child (the younger the child the higher the rate). The following are effective June 1, 2022:

Day Care Center $265-$340
School-Age Child Care $265-$300
Family Day Care & Group Family Day Care Home $240-$300
Legally Exempt (Group Child Care) $199-$225
Legally Exempt (In-Home Standard) $156-$195
Legally Exempt (In-Home Enhanced) $168-$210


Child Care Assistants Program

Money to assist with child care costs is available to working families that meet specific income eligibility guidelines


*As part of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Erie County Child Chare Subsidy Program will expand eligibility standards to serve families with incomes up to 85 percent of the State Median Income (SMI). The Workforce Development Institute’s (WDI) Child Care Facilitated Enrollment Program will accept new applications in the range of 201% of FPL up to 85%.


To apply for child care subsidy, please call the Erie County Department of Social Services (DSS) Day Care Unit at 716-858-8953. Find answers to questions online 24/7 on their website. For in-person visits, the DSS Day Care Unit is located at:

95 Franklin St.

Room 449

Buffalo, NY 14202


Workforce Development Institute (WDI) Child Care Subsidy Program

The WDI Child Care Subsidy Program was created through an initiative of organized labor and community partners to help working families offset the high cost of child care. To qualify you must be employed a minimum of 25 hours per week, have children less than 13 years of age, reside in Erie County and have a household income that falls within the income guidelines below.

Family size Maximum family income
2 $78,880
3 $99,440
4 $120,000
5 $140,560
6 $161,120


For more information, please contact the Workforce Development Institute Child Care Subsidy Program at (716) 632-1900.

Tax Credits for Families

A tax credit lowers the amount of income tax you have to pay each year. Both the Federal and State government offer tax credits for parents.

Earned Income Tax Credit

Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit: Families can claim a tax credit for child care expenses. If you paid for child care for a child under 13 years of age, you could qualify to use some of that money as a tax credit.

Child Tax Credit: The Child Tax Credit is a tax credit of up to $1,000 per qualifying child. A qualifying child is a child who has lived with you for most or all of the last year, was 17-years-old or younger at the end of the year, and is claimed as a dependent on your tax return. The maximum amount of $1,000 per child is available to:

    • Single parents making up to $75,000 annually
    • Parents married and filing separate tax returns, making up to $55,000 each, annually
    • Parents married and filing joint tax returns, making up to $110,000 combined

For more information on Federal Tax Credits, visit their website.

State Tax Credit

Empire State Child Credit: The Empire State Child Credit is for parents who have a child between four-years-old and 17-years-old, and qualify for the Federal Child Tax Credit. The credit is $100 per qualifying child, or 33% of the allowed Federal Child Tax Credit, whichever is higher.

For more information on New York State Tax Credits, visit their website.

To learn more about programs that can assist you in New York State, visit or call 1-800-342-3009.


Employer Support

Your employer may provide discounts or have agreements with programs for reduced rates. Many employers offer Dependent Care Assistance Programs, which will allow you to deduct up to $5,000 a year from your paycheck on a pre-tax basis, for the purpose of paying for child care.


Child Care Program Assistance

Scholarships: Check with your provider to see if they offer or accept various scholarship funds.

Sliding Scale Fee: The cost of the program is based on income standards of the parent, set by the program.

Multi-Child Discounts: Ask the program if they offer discounts for bringing enrolling more than one child.

Head Start/Early Head Start/Universal Pre-K (UPK): These federally-funded full or part day programs provide free education and other services to help get children ready for school. Eligibility is based on income.

UPK: Contact your local school district for more information.

Local Head Start/Early Head Start programs:

    • Community Action Organization of Erie County, Inc. (CAO Head Start): 716-881-5150
    • Bethel Head Start: 716-878-0220
    • Holy Cross Head Start: 716-852-8373

Military Families: If you or a person in your household is in the U.S. Military, your family may qualify for a Department of Defense Military Subsidy. For more information, contact Child Care Aware at 1-800-424-2246 or email them at

College Students: Some colleges have their own child care center, and may offer a discount to their students. Local college and universities with child care centers in Erie County that offer discounts for their students include Buffalo State College and University at Buffalo.