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School Readiness

sand-table1.jpgThe first five years of a child's life are critical to their lifelong development. A young child's earliest experiences and environments, at home, at school, and in the community, set the stage for their future development and school and life success.

The ELCHC and all of its partners work toward making certain that every child in Hillsborough County has access to the supports and resources they need to be ready to enter school and succeed. The ELCHC does this by supporting organizations, programs, and initiatives that support and enhance a child's:

  • Physical well-being and motor development
  • Social and emotional development
  • Approaches to learning
  • Cognition and general knowledge

School Readiness Financial Assistance

The ELCHC's School Readiness Program can help working parents with the cost of child care (frequently called a child care subsidy). These services include extended-day, extended-year, and school age care for children to support parents in becoming financially self-sufficient. A family's gross income (income before taxes, insurance, and any other deductions are subtracted) is used to determine eligibility. Both earned income (for example, wages) and unearned income (for example, child support, Social Security payments, Unemployment Insurance) are counted.

Generally, families with children who are 10 years old or younger may receive help through the School Readiness Program. However, a family may receive a child care subsidy for a child up to the age of 18 if the child requires extra care due to an acute or chronic physical or mental condition.

Depending on the family income, the family will pay a fee for each child for whom you receive financial assistance. The co-payment is based on family income and family size. Parents are expected to make their co-payment directly to the child care provider.

All families eligible for School Readiness financial assistance may select the provider of their choice. However, ELCHC will only pay for child care if the child care provider has been approved by the Coalition. Parents can select providers from the following types of early care providers:

  • Licensed Child Care Centers
  • Licensed Family Child Care Homes
  • Informal Care, which is care provided by a family member such as a grandparent, aunt or uncle (NOTE: There are some restrictions on this type of care).
  • License Exempt Center, which is a center that is not required to be licensed by state law.

Enrollment into School Readiness

Enrollment into School Readiness requires up-to-date health and immunization records for all children.

Required information to process an application:

    • Completed child care application and authorization form (referral) if applicable
    • Verification of Age for all children receiving care, such as a birth certificate, immunization record, insurance policy on the child's life, passport, certificate of arrival in the U.S.A., baptismal or religious record, military identification, or certificate of age signed by a physician.
    • Verification of residency (i.e. government document, driver's license, utility bill, pay stub, rental agreement, military order, document from shelter, letter from property owner, or affiidavit of residency).
    • Verification of employment (6 to 8 weeks of recent pay).
    • Photo ID card for parent/guardian arranging child care.

      Additional documentation that may be required if applicable:

        • Verification of child support payments received (court ordered/voluntary)
        • Verification of public assistance (TANF)
        • Verification of public housing assistance
        • Verification of food stamp assistance
        • Proof of other household income

          For more details and information on how to enroll, click HERE

          For enrollment locations and what to take with you, click HERE In Spanish, click HERE

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          Where to Enroll for School Readiness Services


          Parents, to find a School Readiness enrollment location, Click HERE

          To search for a School Readiness provider, Click HERE.

          If you're looking for School Readiness Forms, check in the Quick Links in the right sidebar.

          If you've completed a Wait List Application and would like to check the status, call (813) 744-8941 X532.

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