WorkFirst HandBook


2.3 Working Connections Child Care (WCCC)

Legal References:

The Working Connections Child Care section includes:

2.3.1 What is WCCC?

Working Connections Child Care, or WCCC, is a child care subsidy program that helps families with children pay for child care to find jobs, keep their jobs, and get better jobs. Because all WCCC clients help pay for the cost of their child care by making a monthly copayment, we refer to WCCC clients as "consumers".

2.3.2 Who is eligible for WCCC (and for how long)?

A family can get WCCC as long as they meet all the program's eligibility requirements (receipt of WCCC does not count toward the WorkFirst cash assistance five year time limit). The two main categories of WCCC-eligible families are:

A WorkFirst Program Specialist or Social Service Specialist who has not yet received child care training can give families who have questions and need WCCC coverage a copy of the flyer called General Information for WorkFirst Participants Needing Child Care Subsidy Assistance. For example, you may want to use the flyer when you complete or update an adult’s Individual Responsibility Plan. The flyer gives basic information about how to apply for childcare.

2.3.3 Are Tribal families eligible for WCCC?

Tribal families are unique because they may participate in either a DSHS WorkFirst or a Tribal WorkFirst program and need child care for that participation.

Tribal families continue to be unique because they have the benefit of "dual eligibility" for child care. This allows families to receive child care coverage from either the WCCC program or through their tribal organization. The WCCC program does not require the Tribal family be denied child care by the tribe before applying for WCCC. If a tribal family finds they are not eligible through the WCCC program, they can still apply through the tribe.

Tribal families receiving WorkFirst cash assistance from a Tribal TANF Program look like non-WorkFirst cash assistance families but have the unearned income code of TT. The Tribal program will need to contact WCCC to verify participation. Tribal families who receive only food and/or medical benefits can be considered a Non-WorkFirst cash assistance recipient for WCCC purposes.

2.3.4 What activities does WCCC cover?

WCCC can subsidize child care needed during the hours a consumer is working, in an approved training plan or engaged in other types of approved WorkFirst activities, or waiting to enter an approved activity such as completing WorkFirst Orientation as a requirement of WorkFirst cash eligibility.

A WorkFirst parent can only be authorized for WCCC when he or she is in an approved WorkFirst activity. It is especially important for the WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS) to make sure the activity meets all requirements outlined in the applicable WAC. A parent may be denied child care if the activity does not meet all criteria outlined in the current rule. Child care workers will make sure non-WorkFirst cash assistance consumers meet WAC requirements in order to receive child care.

2.3.5 What is safe and affordable child care?

WCCC consumers can choose to use licensed/certified family child care homes and child care centers. Consumers may also use what we call "in-home/relative" providers. An in-home/relative provider must be:

It is very important to ensure that WorkFirst parents have safe and affordable child care (for their children under 13 years old) while they participate in work or other IRP activities. If a parent does not have adequate child care, we refer them to the WCCC worker for help.

We never require WorkFirst parents to participate in WorkFirst activities until they locate child care (for their children under 13 years) that is:

Parents who have children (0-18 years old) with special needs may have additional difficulties finding safe and affordable care. WCCC offers these families additional resources in the form of:

2.3.6 What are the requirement for in-home/relative childcare provider?

Parents applying to use an in-home/relative care provider may need to wait to receive required background check results. The WCCC program does not pay for in-home/relative child care provided before all applicable background check results are received. This policy is designed to protect the health and safety of children.

When establishing participation requirements for parents who are waiting for in-home child care approval, DSHS staff has the following options:

You may want to refer the parent to your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency to get help finding licensed child care. The CCR&R can be reached at 1-800-446-1114.

Describe the circumstances in the parent's case notes if the parent will not be required to seek child care while an in-home/relative care request is pending. Refer to Participation While Resolving Issues section for the procedures to monitor the case while no child care is available.

2.3.7 What are WCCC copayments?

As we said earlier, a parent's monthly contribution toward the cost of child care is called a copayment. The copayment is based on family size and countable income in relation to 175% of the federal poverty guidelines.

There are three copayment "levels". If the family's countable income is:

For additional information about copayments, please refer to the Working Connections Child Care Manual, Copayments chapter.

2.3.8 WCCC - Step-by-Step Guide
  1. Consumers can contact the CSO directly for child care services.
  2. The WFPS ensures parents are participating in an activity that meets all criteria listed in the applicable WAC and refers them to WCCC authorizing workers.
  3. The WCCC authorizing workers will:
    1. Help the consumer find safe, affordable and appropriate child care, as needed.
    2. Confirm the consumer is in an approved activity plan, as necessary.
    3. Monitor use of child care and make all appropriate child care payments to the child care provider.

Note: More detailed information about the WCCC Program can be found in the resource section below.


Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections
Other Resources