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Iowa Department of Health and Human Services

Child Care Assistance

Need help paying for child care?

What's Available?

Child Care Assistance (CCA) is available to the children of income-eligible parents who are absent for a portion of the day due to employment or participation in academic or vocational training or PROMISE JOBS activities.  Assistance may also be available for a limited period of time to the children of a parent looking for employment.
Child care services are provided to people participating in activities approved under the PROMISE JOBS program and people who receive Family Investment Program (FIP) assistance without regard to Child Care Assistance eligibility requirements if there is a need for child care services.  PROMISE JOBS staff administer Child Care Assistance for child care needed to participate in PROMISE JOBS activities.
Child care services for a child with protective needs are provided without regard to income.  To receive protective child care services, the family must meet specific requirements, and child care must be identified in the child's case permanency plan as a necessary service.


You may get help from the Child Care Assistance program if you:

  • Have a child who needs care who is under the age of 13 (or under the age of 19 if the child has special needs).
  • Are a member of a Family Investment Program (FIP) participant household.

If you're not a Family Investment Program participant, you may qualify for the CCA program if you:

  • Have a child who needs care who is under the age of 13 (or under the age of 19 if the child has special needs) and have income under the program's limits and work an average of 28 hours per week; or
  • Attend an approved training or education program full-time; or
  • Attend approved training part-time and also work part-time for a total of at least 28 hours per week; or
  • Are looking for work; or
  • Become unable to work or attend school because of an approved medical reason.

NOTE:  Child care provided while you participate in postsecondary education or training has a 24-month lifetime limit.

How do I Apply?

To get most of our services, you must fill out an application form.
You can apply for the Child Care Assistance (CCA) program on-line at our Family Portal where you can apply, access forms and rules, and search for a child care provider.  
If you have access to a printer, you can print an application from this website (see links below).  Complete the application by hand then return it to the DHS centralized child unit in Des Moines.

HHS CCA Eligibility
2309 Euclid Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50310-5703

You can also get an application form from any county Department of Human Services (DHS) office. Click on County DHS Office Locations to find the location of the county DHS office nearest you.

Links to Program Applications

Who Can Care for My Child?

You may choose a child care provider from a variety of arrangements.  You can choose:

  • A licensed child care center, including licensed before and after school programs
  • A registered child development home
  • A nonregistered child care home
  • Someone who cares for your children in your own home

What Must My Child Care Provider Do?

Your provider must be approved by DHS in order to receive payment from the CCA program.  Many providers are already approved by DHS to provide care for the CCA program.  If you do not know whether your provider is approved, ask your DHS CCA worker for assistance. 

What If I Have Questions?

Contact the Centralized Child Care Assistance Eligibility Unit (CCA) at 866-448-4605 or email for questions about child care. The CCCAU determines initial and ongoing eligibility for Child Care Assistance. Their work includes processing new applications, reviews, and changes reported by families receiving Child Care assistance. The Unit also processes child care payments for providers and handles all provider applications, renewals, and changes reported by providers.



You have the right to request an appeal if you disagree with a decision the Department of Health and Human Services makes.  For information on how to file, visit the Appeals Section pages.

You have the right to ask for an exception to policy for an item or service not otherwise covered by the Department of Health and Human Services.  For information on how to file, visit the Exception to Policy page