Child Care Subsidy: Choice of Provider and Stars Requirements

Finding a child care provider is the family’s responsibility. The family may select a child care center, a child care home, or an in-home provider. Whatever type of facility the family chooses, the facility must be licensed through DHS and have a contract with DHS to accept the child care subsidy. Families can enroll their children in a child care home regardless of the number of stars, however, if a family chooses a child care center, the center must have at least 1+ or more stars unless there are no other facilities in the area that have higher stars or if a special exception is met. The special exceptions include:

  1. Child care was approved for this child before the provider’s star status was reduced to one star. The child may remain at the facility unless the child stops attending there for more than 30 calendar days. The child may be approved at the same facility again when the only reason the child did not attend for more than 30 days was because of a school break or circumstances beyond the control of the family, such as the illness of the child.
  2. A sibling of the child is currently approved at the 1 star center.
  3. There are no other child care facilities that meet the family’s needs. This can mean that there are no other facilities currently accepting children of a certain age, there are no facilities willing or able to provide for the needs of a child with special needs, no other facilities are willing to provide transportation to/from school, etc.

Note:  The approval of a 1 star center must be requested by emailing Prior to requesting override of the 1 star center edit, the worker must ensure that they have printed the child care locator list including all 1+ star and higher centers in the client’s area, given that list to the client, and the client must document on the list why each of the 1+ and higher star rated centers cannot be utilized by the child (instead of the 1 star).

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