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Paying for Child Care

Paying for good child care can be a struggle. In fact, child care is probably the second largest expense in your budget after rent or mortgage. The average cost of child care in Hawaii is $640 per month. This cost can vary depending on the age of the child, location, and type of care desired.

Think about what your family needs, and take a close look at your budget.

  • Are there alternatives to paying for full-time child care?
  • Is it possible to work fewer hours or share hours of child care if you are in a two-parent household and working at different times?
  • Could you share child care expenses with another family?
  • Can you rely on several relatives or friends to help you with some of your child care needs?

What should you do?

  • Plan ahead. Start thinking about your child care options and their costs.
  • Child care is a big expense, so make sure it is of high quality.
  • Find out what kind of help may be available. Each type of child care financial assistance has different qualifications, like income level or employment status. Make sure you get all of the facts.

By planning ahead, getting the facts, and using all of the resources available to help you, you are off to a good start in making the best choice for your family.

Local Subsidy Programs

Please contact your local PATCH office and we will refer you to the appropriate contact for information on child care subsidies supported by the State Department of Human Services.  (Please note, PATCH does not administer the State child care subsidy program.)

Here is information on other resources for child care assistance:

Arbor Child Care Connections is a federal subsidy program helping families pay for child care services.  For more information call an office in your area.In Honolulu (Hawaii Kai - Halawa) call 566-2600,or in Waipahu (Aiea - Wahiawa to Waialua; Waipahu - Makaha) call 356-5577.

Click here for Arbor Child Care Connections information or see the list on top left of this page of their local offices.

Preschool Open Doors Program (POD) promotes school readiness by providing child care subsidies to eligible families for the year prior to kindergarten. For the 2016-17 school year, applications are accepted for children born August 1, 2011 - July 31, 2012, with priority given to those who are under-served or at-risk. Eligible families select the DHS-licensed group child care facility (i.e. preschool) of their choice. The Department of Human Services contracts with PATCH to run the program. The application period for the program is during the Spring of each year (this year we will accept applications February-March, 2016).

To find  out more about POD please visit the DHS website or Click here for our Preschool Open Doors web page.

For more information call our office on Oahu: 791-2130 and Neighbor Islands: 1-800-746-5620 (toll free) or contact your local PATCH office.

Pauahi Keiki Scholars Program

Services for children (3-4 yrs. old) of Native Hawaiian ancestry. Preschool program must be approved by Kamehameha Schools. Applications accepted January through April of each year.

10/27/2016 NOTICE: there is a new open enrolment period for November-December 2016 for Pauahi Keiki Scholars Program:

Contact: (808) 534-8080,

Web Site: Pauahi Keiki Scholars Program

Military Programs: Military members are eligible to receive a monthly subsidy to help offset child care costs. Eligibility may vary by military branch.  To determine if you are eligible, contact Child Care Aware's NACCRRA Military Fee Assistance department toll-free at 1-800-424-2246 or by email at

Employer/College Support

Some employers (or colleges, if you are a student) provide child care scholarships, discounts, or on-site child care at reduced rates.

Child Care Providers
Some child care providers offer scholarships, discounts or a sliding fee scale.

Head Start and Early Head Start
These are federally funded programs that provide free child care and other services to help meet the health and school readiness needs of eligible children. Most, but not all, families who access Head Start or Early Head Start must have incomes that meet federal poverty guidelines. Statewide contacts for Head Start programs are listed below:

Child and Family Service, Inc
Phone: 808-245-5914

Family Support Services of West Hawaii
Phone: 808-326-7778

CDI (Community Development Institute) Head Start
Phone: 808-961-0570

Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc.
Phone: 808-249-2988

Maui Family Support Service, Inc.
Phone: 808-242-0900

PACT Early Head Start
1485 Linapuni Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96819
Phone: 808-842-5996

Parents and Children Together
Phone: 808-847-3285

Hawaii Department of Health
Phone: 808-733-9022

Honolulu Community Action Program, Inc.
Phone: 808-521-4531
Tax Credits and Assistance
Find out what tax programs you might be eligible for to assist you with your child care needs.

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

You may be able to lower your taxes and even get up to several thousand dollars back if you qualify for the EITC. To qualify you must be working full or part-time and make less than a certain amount based upon family size. You don’t have to owe any taxes to get the EITC.

Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit

If you have a child under 13 and owe federal income taxes, this tax credit can help cover a portion or all of the taxes you owe if you qualify.

Dependent Care Assistance Programs

Your employer may offer this program which allows you to have money taken out of your paycheck tax-free and put into a special account to be used for child care tuition reimbursement. The main purpose of this type of program is to lower the amount of taxes you have to pay during the year. However, you can’t claim any money you put into this account for the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (described above).

IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program helps low-income workers complete their tax forms. For more information on VITA and other tax related questions, call 1-800-829-1040.
To get more information call the State of Hawaii’s Dept. of Taxation on Oahu: 587-4242, Kauai: 247-3456, Hawaii: 974-6321, Maui: 984-8500 or the IRS at 1-800-829-3676 and request Form #596 Earned Income Credit and Form #503 Child and Dependent Care Expenses, or ask your tax accountant. You can also visit the IRS website at or the State of Hawaii’s Dept. of Taxation website at