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Debt-Burdened Households

A household that is otherwise financially ineligible for Child Care and suffers burdensome levels of debt may qualify for protective or preventative child care.

What levels of debt qualify?

In order to qualify, the household's debt must be large enough that, if the household chooses to pay the debt and child care, the household's situation will (1) deteriorate and (2) cause a danger of child abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Deterioration includes anything that affects the family's stability and functioning.

During the interview, determine whether the household is experiencing this level of debt. Case note what debts limit the household's ability to pay for child care and why the household fears paying for child care might cause abuse, neglect, or exploitation.


Help the household construct a budget to reduce their debts, or refer them to Consumer Credit Counseling or another local resource for help creating this budget. The household must supply proof of their debt burden, a budget, and a plan to reduce debt to gain a 12 month approval.

Unit Type Approved

Base the Unit Type on the household's unique situation. Ask what does the family needs to enhance the family's stability and functioning.

FACS K16 Coding Options

Code the need factor in the FACS dropdown box K16. Use "prevention of or protection from abuse, neglect and/or exploitation." Video examples for coding this block are available through Quest here and here. Quest also provides specific instructions for coding protective or preventive approvals. Click here to access the instructions.


Bethany applies for Child Care for her seven-year-old daughter Serena. Bethany receives $2,900 per month for working. She works from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday. Bethany's income places her above the applicable income standard on the Appendix C-4. Her mortgage is $1,500, her car loan is $300, her student loan is $200, her is credit card is $100, and her medical bills are $50. Bethany reports that her husband Israel recently abandoned her and Serena, and she is having difficulty paying all her bills and debts. She realizes the mortgage is high, but she was able to afford it when Israel was in the household. She reports she has to keep paying the mortgage or become homeless. Bethany attends school during the day but needs after-school care. Serena's potential child care provider explains it costs $320 per month for before and after school care. Bethany is also responsible for utilities and food costs. Can Bethany qualify for protective or preventive child care?

Yes. You may accept her statement regarding these balances during the interview and grant a 30 day approval. Serena has $2,150 in debt payments. If she pays for child care, she will have $530 to pay her utilities, gas, food, and other expenses. There is a danger of Serena either being left home alone or potentially not having enough to eat. Do not enter any income when coding the initial 30 days of eligibility. By the end of 30 days, Bethany must provide evidence of her debt burden and a plan to correct it before receiving a 12 month approval. Child Care Subsidy will prove further directions when approving additional child care.

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