The cost of child care is out of reach for low-income families. Therefore, the Florida School Readiness Program offers financial assistance for early education and care to low-income families. It is meant to encourage and aid families in becoming financially self-sufficient. Also, so their young children can be successful. Services vary based on individual needs and range from extended day care to after-school and school-age care in some instances.
Benefits of the School Readiness program:
- Prepares young children to start kindergarten.
- Helps working families afford quality early care.
- Keeps parents working and/or continuing an education.
- Helps families become financially independent.
The School Readiness program was first created in 1999. Today, the Florida Office of Early Learning controls the reimbursement of funds, and in partnership with both the Early Learning Coalition of Orange County and the Early Learning Coalition of Osceola County, 4C provides this assistance to Central Florida families.
There are three specific eligibility requirements for the School Readiness program:
- Parents(s) or guardian(s) must be working and/or attending school (college or trade) at least 20 hours a week OR disabled, as determined and documented by a licensed physician.
- Gross income must be at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level for family size.
- Families must pay a copayment for child care costs (based on income and family size).
School Readiness funds are intended to help income-eligible families. But they may also include recipients of temporary cash assistance who meet federal work requirements; families with at-risk children of abuse, neglect or abandonment; homeless parents, parents who are victims of domestic violence; teenage parents; low-income migrant families or farm workers; or families of children with disabilities and special health care needs.