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Helping Hands: Website guides parents through child development assistance programs

The Child Care Information Services of Centre-Clinton Counties is one of 43 statewide CCIS offices. Each CCIS is designated as the state’s resource and referral agency for families with children birth to 13 years of age. Two main services are provided: resource and referral services and financial assistance for child daycare programs.

Our State College office maintains a resource library that includes educational materials on topics such as how to deal with temper tantrums, positive discipline practices, healthy eating habits, biting and toileting. The CCIS also can provide referrals to other agencies and services.

To qualify for financial assistance, each child needing day care must be a U.S. citizen; each adult must work at least 20 hours or more per week; the child must need daycare in order for the parent/caretaker to work; and must meet income guidelines. Once a household is determined eligible, the CCIS also will determine a co-payment — the amount you are expected to pay toward the cost of child care. There typically is a waiting list statewide, but the length of time to wait varies from county to county.

These services also are available online at www.compass.state.pa.us. Parents/caretakers can request a list of early care and education programs by scrolling to the bottom of the web page and selecting “Early Learning Programs and Providers” under the Helpful Links section. To find a provider, click on the “Find a Provider” link and you will be prompted to select your child’s age. After you enter your child’s age, you will see all the programs that your child may participate.

Once you have finished entering your specific requirements, you will be given a summary of your search results displayed with tabs. Each tab will provide you with the name(s), address and phone number to contact for enrollment information. You can view a child care programs’ inspection history by clicking on the provider name and navigating to the Certification section and clicking on “Click for Inspection History.” Parents also may submit provider complaints by returning to the Early Learning Programs & Providers and clicking on the “Submit Provider Complaints” link under the Additional Resources section. Individuals may apply for services using Compass by either clicking on the “Apply for Any Benefits” or by logging in if you already have a Compass account.

If you only wish to apply for child care assistance, select “Child Care Works.” Once you complete an application, you should write down your application number. The CCIS will follow-up with you if there is additional information needed.

For more information about the CCIS, contact the office at 231-1352 or 888-440-2247.

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