Information for Caretakers (Parents)

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Could I be eligible? 

  • Family Size

    Gross Monthly Income Initial Eligibility











How do I apply?

  • Complete and submit the following application: (click here)
  • Apply online: (click here)
  • In person at our agency during regular business hours (Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.)
  • By mailing a completed application to 239 West Main Street, Lancaster, Ohio 43130
  • By dropping a completed application in the agency drop box located in the front of our building, open 24 hours
  • By faxing a completed application to 740-689-4848
  • By email to

What verifications are needed?

  • Proof of all income (employment, child support, disability, unemployment, etc)
  • Birth Certificates for all children needing care
  • Official school schedule

What happens after I submit my application?

  • Child Care applications are processed by a caseworker without a face-to-face appointment.
  • To receive child care assistance, you must use a licensed child care center or a certified family child care home. For more information on how to locate and chose quality child care visit, or call 1-855-30 child. 
  • Once your child care application has been approved, your child will be authorized to receive child care while you are working, attending school, or participating in an approved activity.

I received my notice of approval, what's next?

  • When you are approved for services, if you have already reported the child care provider you plan to use, an authorization will be created to that provider. This prompts the mailing of your Ohio ECC swipe card, which should arrive in 7 to 10 business days. If you do not receive this card within 10 business days, you must call the card company to request a card be re-mailed at 1-888-796-4322. The day after the authorization is created, your provider sees it in their Provider Web portal, and care can begin.

What is an Ohio ECC card?

  • To use Publicly Funded Child Care to pay your child care provider, you are required to use the Ohio ECC swipe card to swipe your child in and out of care each day. Either you (the caretaker or parent) or a designee must swipe the card to record a child’s attendance. It is important, however, that you do not allow the provider or the provider’s employees to store or use your Ohio ECC card. Doing so can result in a termination of your child care benefits and penalties and sanctions against you and or your provider. 

How does my provider actually get paid?

  • Your provider receives payment from two sources.
    1. Publicly Funded Child Care
    Your child’s attendance will be recorded through the Ohio ECC swipe card and your provider will be paid accordingly.
    2. Your Co-Payments
    Families are required to pay a weekly family co-payment as part of their eligibility for child care. Both you and your provider will receive a notice of your weekly co-payment.
    You should request a receipt for your fees. If you do not pay the fee on time, the provider can refuse to care for your children and your child care case can be terminated. If you lose your child care because of nonpayment of fees, you will not be allowed to receive child care until you pay the fees and the county agency receives verification of this payment.

How much care can I use?

  • When you are approved for Publicly Funded Child Care, you will be approved for a category of care based on the number of hours you work or attend school or training plus travel time. The categories are:
    Hourly – 0 to 7 hours
    Part-time – 7 to 24.9 hours
    Full-time – 25 to 60 hours
    Full-time plus – more than 60 hours
  • The specific hours and days a child receives care from a provider must be agreed upon by you and your provider. You may not use more hours than the category allows, but you and your provider can determine specific days and hours of care according to your actual work, school or training activity schedule.

My information has changed, how do I report it?

  • All changes in your address, income, family size and work or approved activity must be reported within 10 days of the change. Changes can be reported by calling 740-652-7889 (option 3 and then 5), or by email at

What do I do if my Ohio ECC swipe card is lost or stolen?

  • Please contact the Ohio ECC Caretaker helpline at 1-888-796-4322 to have a replacement card mailed to you. Lost cards must be reported within seven (7) days of your last swipe card transaction.

What if my child will be absent from child care?

  • Let your provider know your work schedule each week.
  • Let your provider know your child will be absent as soon as possible. Failure to do so could result in termination of care with the provider.
  • You are responsible for paying your fee even if your child is absent.
  • If your child is absent 10 days or less in a 6-month period your child care costs will be paid as usual.
  • You only get 10 days per child, regardless of how many providers you use in the 6-month period.
  • If your child is absent more than 10 days in a 6-month period, you may be required to pay the full cost of care for any additional absent days. Absent days are tracked for each child. So if you have two children in care, each child can have up to 10 absent days.
  • The 6-month periods for tracking absent days are fixed.
  • The 1st period runs Jan.1 through Jun. 30.
  • The 2nd period runs Jul.1 through Dec. 31.
  • Your provider may stop your care for excessive absences.

Why do I have to reapply every 12 months?

  • The State of Ohio requires your case eligibility to be reviewed every 12 months and when there is a change in your case. At that time, you must submit current verification of your income and activity, and complete the Redetermination Application located here.

What do I do if I lose employment, stop attending school, or am off work for medical leave?

  • The 13 week activity gap allows caretakers who receive Publicly Funded Child Care, and lose their qualifying activity, to receive continued benefits for up to 13 weeks or until their current eligibility ends. Caretakers have to contact the Child Care Unit at FCJFS and request the 13 week activity gap.
  • The Gap Period process will benefit caretakers in the following ways:
    • It will allow caretakers to maintain uninterrupted eligibility for child care while they are searching for new employment, off work for medical leave, or searching for another qualifying activity.
    • Once the caretaker has a new activity, because of continued eligibility, their income eligibility for Publicly Funded Child Care will be determined at 300% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) instead of at 130% FPL.

If you are interested in becoming a certified family child care provider, please click here