2.3 Working Connections Child Care (WCCC)

Revised October 1, 2021

Legal References:

The Working Connections Child Care section includes:

  • 2.3.1 What is Working Connections Child Care (WCCC)?
  • 2.3.2 Who is eligible for WCCC (and for how long)?
  • 2.3.3 Are Tribal families eligible for WCCC?
  • 2.3.4 What activities does WCCC cover?
  • 2.3.5 What is safe and affordable child care?
  • 2.3.6 What are the requirements for an in-home/relative child care provider?
  • 2.3.7 What are WCCC copayments?
  • 2.3.8 WCCC - Step-by-Step Guide to apply for WCCC.

2.3.1 What is WCCC?

Working Connections Child Care, or WCCC, is the child care subsidy program that helps families with children pay for child care to find jobs, keep their jobs, and get better jobs. The WCCC program is administered by the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF).

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

A family can get WCCC as long as they meet all of the program's eligibility requirements within 14 days of application (receipt of WCCC doesn't count toward the WorkFirst cash assistance five year time limit). The two main categories of WCCC-eligible families are:

  • WorkFirst cash assistance families: Participants who are DSHS or Tribal WorkFirst participants in approved WorkFirst activities, and applicants waiting to enter an approved activity such as attending the new WorkFirst Orientation as a requirement of eligibility.
  • Non-WorkFirst families: Working families whose countable income is at or below 60% of the state median income (SMI). The SMI guideline adjusts for family size.

A WorkFirst Program Specialist or Social Service Specialist 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 the participants Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP). 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 may require child care in order to participate.

Tribal families 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 doesn't require the Tribal family be denied child care by the tribe before applying for WCCC. If a tribal family finds they aren't eligible through the WCCC program, they can still apply through the tribe.

Tribal families may receive their WorkFirst cash assistance from a Tribal TANF Program or from DSHS TANF program (Please see Worker Responsibilities - WAC 388-400-0005 for budgeting Tribal TANF). The Tribal program needs to contact WCCC to verify participation within 14 days of application. 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 participant 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 participant can be authorized for WCCC when they apply for TANF and/or begin participating in an approved WorkFirst activity as outlined in their Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP). Child care is terminated if the participant isn't placed in an approved WorkFirst activity within 14 days of application. 

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:

  • An adult chosen by the WCCC consumer to provide child care in the consumer's own home, or
  • An adult relative (to specific degree) where the consumer may choose child care in either the consumer's or the relative's home.

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

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

  • Affordable (doesn't cost more than the copayment would under the WCCC program);
  • Appropriate (licensed, certified, or approved under federal, state, or tribal law and regulations for the type of care they use and that they were able to choose, within locally available options, who would provide it); and
  • Within a reasonable distance (within reach without traveling farther than is expected in their community).

Participants 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:

  • A special needs rate to providers, and
  • Referrals to Public Health Nurses for assessment of the child. The assessment determines how the child's needs affect the parent's ability to participate in WorkFirst activities (See the link to the PHN Referral Form in the Resource section below.)

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

Participants applying to use an in-home/relative care provider may need to wait to receive required background check results. The WCCC program starts authorization for payment for child care based on the date the provider is approved. The WCCC program doesn't pay for in-home/relative child care provided before the provider is approved. This policy is designed to protect the health and safety of children.

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

  • Under parental choice, a participant can decide to use an unapproved in-home/relative provider, but you must document clearly in the case record that they understand the department doesn't pay for these services.
  • The participant is required to look for appropriate, alternative child care until an in-home provider is approved for payment. The following situations are considered inappropriate for short-term, temporary child care, and would, therefore allow the participant to wait for in-home coverage before they participate:
    • Care is needed for a child under one year old;
    • Care is needed for multiple children and can only be provided by multiple child care providers;
    • The participant can demonstrate that the child cannot function outside of her or his home environment; or,
    • An exception to rule is approved for other situations, not covered above, that pose an unusual and significant risk to the family from using available child care.

Refer the participant 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.

Document the circumstances in the participant's case notes if they won't 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?

A participant'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 60% of the state median income (SMI) guidelines.

There are five copayment "levels" based on the family's countable income:

If household income is: Then the household's maximum monthly copayment is:
0 to 20% SMI No copay
More than 20% to 36% SMI $65 Copay
More that 36% to 50% SMI $90 Copay
More than 50% to 60% SMI $115 Copay. Families over 60% SMI at application are not eligible.
More than 60% to 65% SMI $215 Copay. Second tier eligibility is for families reapplying and under 65% SMI.


For additional information about copayments,  refer to the Child Care Subsidy Programs Manual.

2.3.8 WCCC - Step-by-Step Guide to apply for WCCC.

  1. The WFPS/WFSSS ensures the participants are engaged in approved WorkFirst activity and refers them to a WCCC worker for further application needs.
  2. WFPS/WFSSS can't apply for, or approve child care. The participant must choose from the options below when applying for WCCC:
  • Online, Washington Connections at https://www.washingtonconnection.org/home/ and complete the application online, or
  • Apply by phone at toll free, 1 (844) 626-8687 (application hours are; Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm) or
  • Complete the child care application form in person, at the local CSO office, or mail the application to the following address as follows:


Child Care Subsidy Contact Center
Department of Children, Youth, and Families
PO Box 11346, Tacoma, WA 98411-9903


Note: The fax number, if using a fax to send in the application is as follows: 1 (877) 309-9747.

The applicant or participant needs to provide information when applying for WCCC as follows:

  • The activity schedule, including the anticipated days per week and scheduled times child care is needed. Example: Monday through Friday, 9:30 am to 5:30 pm or, Saturday 5:30 pm to midnight.
  • If working, wage stubs or verification of gross income for the past 3 months.
  • Travel time from the chosen daycare location, to the WorkFirst activity or employer if working.
  • General provider information. Child care provider information, to seek a provider, call 1-(800)-446-1114.
  • Payment start dates depends on the type of provider chosen, (licensed or unlicensed) and the provider's eligibility, including verification the provider passed the background check. (When using an unlicensed friend or family member provider.)
  • A licensed provider can be an option, while the background check is being processed for the unlicensed provider.

Note:  There may be cases where the participant has already applied for WCCC at application.  WCCC is approved initially for the applicant to complete all TANF eligibility requirements and must be in an approved WorkFirst activity within 14 days of application to continue receiving WCCC without breaking the continuity of care.


The WCCC authorizing worker:

  1. Helps the WorkFirst participant find safe, affordable and appropriate child care, as needed.
  2. Confirms the participant is in an approved activity plan, as necessary.

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


Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

Other Resources