Finding Safe, Reliable, Quality Child Care

Employers can help employees find quality, affordable child care throughout Idaho.

Looking for child care can be stressful for parents.  Knowing what to ask, what to look for, who to trust, and how to compare options is hard.  There are so many different child care options, looking for child care can easily turn into an overwhelming and confusing experience for parents.

Employers can help by:

  • Referring employees to IdahoSTARS Child Care Resource Centers (CCRCs) for assistance in looking for child care.  Child Care Resource Center regional offices have staff specialists who help families find child care and work with providers to become licensed and to offer high-quality child care.  Families can conduct an online search or reach out to the Idaho Careline by calling 2-1-1 or 1-800-926-2588.
  • Posting signs or flyers with links to the IdahoSTARS web site and the Idaho Careline in places where employees regularly gather such as the copy machine or the lunch room.
  •  Reducing parent stress over child care. Do families need help finding child care for a special needs child? Do they need child care during non-traditional hours (like evenings or weekends)? Are parents looking for a Pre-K program, summer camp or, after-school program?  IdahoSTARS Child Care Resource Centers can help.  They know all the options.  They can work with families to help parents make informed decisions. Calling the Careline at 1-800-926-2588 makes it easy!
  • Assisting new hires and employees who are relocating with child care information.  If your business has a new hire packet, include a flyer about IdahoSTARS to assist new employees in finding child care.  If your business has families who are relocating, you can work with the Child Care Resource Centers to offer employees assistance in finding child care.  Moving can be stressful enough, let CCRC staff help your employees to find child care that best meets their needs.

Child Care Resource Centers

The role of CCRCs include:

  • Offering education to parents about quality child care, its importance, and how it directly impacts individual families
  • Offering direct services to child care providers to increase quality practices and connecting child care providers with opportunities in IdahoSTARS as well as with outside agencies for additional support
  • Recruiting child care providers to participate in the Idaho Child Care Program and other IdahoSTARS programs
  • Increase the visibility and importance of quality child care

How can employers more directly support employee child care needs?

  • There is a federal tax credit for businesses that contract with Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) agencies to assist their employees with finding child care. Employers can receive a tax credit of up to 10 percent of expenses for CCR&R services.
  • There is a federal tax credit for businesses that provide child care on-site.  Employers can receive a tax credit of 25 percent of qualified expenses for an employee child care program.
  • Employers can set up Dependent Care Assistance Plans where employees can set aside up to $5,000 in pre-tax salary for dependent care expenses, money used to reimburse employees for child care expenses.

Ways for families to make child care more affordable

There is a federal tax credit for child care expenses that allows a modest credit against individual/family taxes owed.

There is a business employee benefit (referred to as a Dependent Care Assistance Plan) that enables employees to set aside money for child care tax-free that can be used to reimburse some child care expenses.

There is a deduction in Idaho for some child care expenses that can be taken in addition to the federal child care tax credit.

For more information about the above tax incentives for families, read our detailed summary for employees.

Child Care Subsidies

For low-income families, child care subsidies are available based on family income. To find out more about the Idaho Child Care Program (ICCP) that helps low income families afford quality child care, check out the ICCP program under Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare web page.  Families can learn more information about the ICCP program and how to apply for assistance on this web page

Resource Corner