Child Care Subsidy


The Wake County Child Care Subsidy Program provides financial assistance for parents and their child care needs. The amount of child care subsidy for each family is based on an assessment of need, income and family size. Every year Wake County receives state and federal funds to be used for subsidized child care services for its residents. We also provide information about choosing and using quality child care.


You may be eligible to receive child care assistance if one or more of the following situations apply to your family:

  • You are working;
  • You are in school or in a job training program;
  • Your child is receiving child protective services;
  • Your child needs care to support child welfare services or if your family is experiencing a crisis; or  
  • Your child has developmental needs.

You must be the parent or legal guardian of the child receiving subsidy benefits. Most families are required to pay a percentage of their child care costs based upon their gross monthly income. The percentage is normally around 10%.

How to Apply for Child Care Subsidy

To apply for child care subsidy, complete the application below or contact Wake County Health & Human Services at  919-212-9285 (English, Spanish) or

Child Care Subsidy Application (English) 

Child Care Subsidy Application (Spanish) 

Child Care Subsidy Income Guidelines

*Application forms must be downloaded, printed and physically signed. Typed signatures cannot be accepted per State policy.

Completed applications can be submitted in the following ways:

  • drop off at any Wake County Health and Human Services office with an outside drop box,
  • scan inside at any Wake County Health and Human services location,
  • email to,
  • USPS mail to Wake County Health and Human Services, 220 Swinburne St., Raleigh, NC 27610

Also, in case of printing issues, printer setting should be set to "Auto" for best results (example). 

It is critical that all families keep their contact information updated. This can be done by contacting us in one of the ways mentioned above. 

Additional Resources

Child Care Services Association (CCSA)

Child Care Services Association (CCSA) is a nationally recognized nonprofit working to ensure affordable, accessible, high-quality child care for all families through research, services and advocacy. Child Care Services Association provides free referral services to families seeking child care, technical assistance to child care businesses, and educational scholarships and salary supplements to child care professionals through the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® and Child Care WAGE$® projects.

More information on Child Care Services Association

NC Division of Child Development and Early Education

The mission of the NC Department of Health and Human Services is, in collaboration with our partners, to protect the health and safety of all North Carolinians and provide essential human services.

More information on child care subsidy.

Wake County Smart Start

Wake County Smart Start is a nonprofit organization with the mission to ensure children in Wake County, birth to age five, are prepared for success in school and in life. Officially formed in 1996, Wake County SmartStart works to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of child care, provide preventive health and early intervention services and offer family support services. Wake County Smart Start administers the NCPreK program which operates in Wake County Public Schools and various child care facilities across the county.

More information on Wake County Smart Start

NC Pre-K

Wake Pre-K

  • Wake Pre-K is a group of three preschool programs, NC Pre-K, Title I, and Head Start, that are free for eligible children in Wake County turning 4 by August 31 of the current program year.​
  • Wake Pre-K is a 6.5-hour program. Some locations may offer wrap-around care and transportation, but it is not guaranteed. ​
  • All Wake Pre-K programs use the Creative Curriculum® through Teaching Strategies. This is a comprehensive, research-based curriculum that features exploration and discovery as a way of learning and enabling children to develop confidence, creativity, and lifelong critical-thinking skills. ​

More information and registration 

WakeThree School

Wake ThreeSchool is a new early learning program for three-year-old that live in Wake County. This new program will provide early education to young children in a play-based, dynamic way, like the nationally recognized NC Pre-K program. Wake ThreeSchool is prioritized for families with low incomes (below 200% the Federal Poverty Level) and for other related priority groups such as children with documented health or learning issues, having an Individualized Education Program (IEP), having a parent who is an active-duty member of the armed forces or speaking a language other than English at home.

To apply:

Contact Us

Wake County Health & Human Services
Call: 919-212-9285 (English, Spanish) Email: