There are three main public child care assistance programs in Minnesota. Each of them has different rules for who can be in the program:

  1. MFIP / DWP Child Care Assistance is for parents who receive Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) benefits or Diversionary Work Program (DWP) benefits.
  2. Basic Sliding Fee (BSF) Child Care Assistance is for parents who are working, looking for work, or going to school.
  3. Transition Year Child Care Assistance is for parents who have recently gone off MFIP or DWP benefits.

Age Limits

If they qualify, parents can access child care assistance for children up to age 12. The age limit is 14 for children with special needs.

MFIP / DWP Child Care Assistance

The Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) and the Diversionary Work Program (DWP) provide employment services and cash assistance to parents with low incomes.

To be eligible for the MFIP / DWP Child Care Assistance program, you must be on MFIP or DWP and:

  • Have a MFIP or DWP Employment Plan; or
  • Be looking for a job; or
  • Be signed up for an MFIP or DWP orientation; or
  • Be doing something else that’s part of a MFIP or DWP Employment Plan; or
  • Have a 20-hour-a-week job.

To learn more about MFIP program rules, read DB101's MFIP article.

Basic Sliding Fee (BSF) Child Care Assistance

Each Minnesota county sets its own rules and income limits for Basic Sliding Fee (BSF) Child Care Assistance. Because there a limited number of BSF spots available in each county, certain families who qualify for the program get top priority:

  • Families who used to be on MFIP
  • Families who are getting job training and don’t have any family members with a high school diploma
  • Families in which one parent is a veteran, and
  • Families who were on BSF in another county.

BSF Copayments

You have to pay a fee to take part in the BSF program. This fee is called a copayment. Your copayment amount depends upon:

  • Which county you live in;
  • How much income you have; and
  • How big your family is.

For example, a four-person family living in Hennepin County with $30,000 in yearly income pays about $65 per month to be part of BSF.

Transition Year Child Care

Transition Year Child Care Assistance is for families who are no longer receiving MFIP or DWP benefits, and are on a waiting list for BSF Child Care Assistance in their county.

Application

To apply for any of these child care assistance programs, contact your county human services agency.