The Silver Spoon – Child Care Assistance Program (TSPCA)
TSPCA Child Care Assistance Program helps parents with lower incomes pay for child care in the same way as most child care assistance programs. The unique benefit, and difference to TSPCA program compared to other programs is that although we assist parents while they work, or are in school we also assist parents while they are searching for work.
1.Who can get help from Silver Spoon’s Child Care Assistance?
The Silver Spoon Child Care Assistance Program is for families with children under age 13 (and under age 19 for children who are handicapped or have special needs). To get TSPCA, your income has to be below the limits. Parents also have to work, look for work, or go to school to get TSPCA assistance.
2. How does the Silver Spoon Child Care Assistance Program work?
TSPCA is not a free program. Almost all parents have to pay part of the cost of child care each month. This is called a co-payment or co-pay. TSPCA has a sliding fee system — that means families that make more money pay a higher co-pay than families who make less money. Payments automatically go to providers, unless a provider wishes to have it issued to the family. If your provider charges more than the amount that silver spoon pays, then you may have to pay the difference (plus your co-pay). Or you can find another provider who does not charge more than what the foundation will pay.
3. Do non-working parents have to pay a co-pay? Non-working/unemployed parents are not required to pay a co-pay for 60 days. After the grace period parents are required to pay co-payment regardless of their unemployment status.
4. How much will I have to pay each month on the TSPCA program?
TSPCA Child Care Assistance Program payments are based on a sliding fee scale, so payments vary by income. You will also be responsible for any amount charged by the provider that is not covered by the foundation
5. What does the term “allowable maximum” mean?
The “allowable maximum” is the amount of the child care that the program/foundation will cover. This amount is based on hours of need for care, the type of provider, and the age of the child(ren). This is the amount used with the sliding fee scale.
6. What is the maximum family payment?
Even with the sliding fee scale, child care expenses for large families or families with a number of younger children may be more than a family can afford. There is a maximum amount, which is the most the family will have to pay. The family will pay the lesser of the two: the maximum family payment or the amount based on the sliding fee scale
7. Can I pick my child care provider if I get help from TSPCA?
Yes. A provider must be licensed, self-certified, registered through the Tribes, or be an approved relative. Air Force and out-of state licensed, or out-of-state self-certified providers are also eligible to be providers in the program. An approved relative is a provider whose relationship to the child is by blood, marriage, or court decree, and who is a grandparent, great-grandparent, aunt, uncle or sibling. The approved relative must be caring for five (5) or fewer children including their own children under the age of 12. The sibling provider may not be residing in the same residence as the child(ren). The approved relative is not licensed or self-certified; the relative is “approved” only to provide care for specific children.
8. How do I find a child care provider who will accept TSPCA?
All providers accept TSPCA since payments are allocated directly from the foundation.
9. Can I change my child care provider at any time with TSPCA?
Yes, but you must tell your case worker 15 days before you change providers–unless your child is in danger. If you think your child is in danger, please talk to your worker right away
10. Can I use more than one child care provider with TSPCA?
Yes. If you need to use more than one provider because of your schedule or your child’s needs, you can.
11. Do I have to work, look for work, or go to school to get TSPCA?
Yes. To get TSPCA, every adult who lives in your home who is a parent, legal guardian, or spouse has to work, be looking for work, or going to school. These people are called “eligible caregivers.”
- If you are not working, and is looking for work, you must provide an interview intake form to the the employer you are seeking employment, and have them fill it out, and return it to your worker within 14 days.
- If you do not obtain employment within six months of being on the program your continued eligibility will be temporarily suspended until you obtain employment.
12. Who is an eligible caregiver?
If these people live in your home, they are eligible caregivers and have to go to work, look for work, or go to school for you to get TSPCA:
- The child’s mother and father (even if they are not married)
- An adult married to the mother or father of the child
- The child’s legal guardian and his or her spouse
These people who live in your home are not eligible caregivers. They do not have to work, look for work, or go to school for you to get TSPCA (unless they are legal guardians):
- Grandparents of a child
- A parent’s boyfriend or girlfriend
- Adult relatives who are not the mother or father of the child
- Other people who live with you but are not related to you
13. What if I am unemployed and need child care to look for work?
TSPCA can also pay for eight weeks per calendar year for parents to look for work.
14. Do I or my children have to be U.S. citizens to get TSPCA?
No. Children for whom you are applying for TSPCA do not have to be U.S. citizens or have an acceptable immigration status but they do need to provide proof of identity (e.g. driver’s license, state identification card, passport, school identification card or birth certificate) and residence (e.g. one of the items listed above or a copy of a recent utility bill, rental lease or mortgage document).
- Also, you will be asked to provide Social Security Numbers on the application. You are not required to provide Social Security Numbers and it will not impact your ability to get any benefits if you do not provide them.
15. I am an immigrant. If I get help from TSPCA, will I be a public charge?
No. Getting TSPCA does not mean you are a public charge. You can still become a U.S. citizen if you get Child Care Assistance.
16. Does it matter how long I have lived in Florida/Georgia?
No. But you do have to apply in the county you live in now.
17. Are there any asset limits for Child Care Assistance?
No, TSPCA does not look at your assets to see if you get help. (Assets include money in a checking or savings account and other things of value.)
18. Do I have to cooperate with the child support office to get TSPCA?
No. TSPCA does not require cooperation with Child Support Enforcement.
19. How do I get an application for the Child Care Assistance Program?
You can pick up an application from our office. You can also get one from this website by clicking here or you may complete an online application which will be electronically sent to your county social service office, who will determine your qualification for programs.
20. What is the application like?
There are two application forms. You can use either form to apply for Child Care Assistance. One form is the Child Care Assistance Application. This application is 4 pages long, plus instructions. It asks questions about your income and expenses, your employer or school, and your children and their needs. You also must provide verification of all income of all household members. A person attending allowable post secondary school or allowable post secondary training must submit a copy of his or her class schedule and, the Post Secondary Education Information form.
The second application is the Application for Assistance and is about 17 pages long. It will enable you also to be screened for eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Food Assistance (SNAP – formerly Food Stamps). It will ask you about everyone who lives with you, how much money they make, and what they own (assets). If you want, you can use this same application to apply for cash assistance (TANF).
21. Can I get TSPCA If I get Temporary assistance for needy families (TANF)? Yes. Receiving outside assistance does not deny you assistance from the program.
You may complete an online application which will be electronically sent to your county social service office, who will determine your qualification for programs
22. How do I apply? Do I have to go in person?
You have to turn in your application to our office. You can mail it, fax it, take it in person or you may complete our online application which will be electronically sent to your worker, who will determine your qualification for programs. Once you get TSPCA, you will work with a program social services worker who will help you understand the program
23. Can I apply for TSPCA while I am pregnant, if I have no other children?
Yes, but you cannot get TSPCA until after the child is born.
24. How soon will I be able to get help from TSPCA?
You will get a letter from your worker within 30 days from when you turn in your application. It will tell you how soon you can begin getting help from TSPCA.
If the provider chosen by the parent is not currently self-certified, registered through the Tribes, or an approved relative care giver, these processes must be completed first. Once the provider has received necessary approval/license, the provider information must be entered into the Children and Families Services Day Care system. Once that is completed and if a “W9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification” has been received by the Child Care Assistance Office, then the provider will be entered into the Child Care Assistance Day Care system. After that point, payments can be issued
25. Is there a waiting list for the program?
No. Currently we do not have a waiting list for the Silver Spoon Child Care Assistance Program.
26. What do I have to do to stay on the program?
You need to pay your co-pay to the child care provider every month. You also need to tell your worker if some things change in your life within 10 days—such as getting a new phone number or address, a change in your income, getting married or divorced, or having another child. If you do not tell your worker about these changes, you may have to pay back money that the foundation paid by mistake.
Mandatory changes must be reported to your worker by the 10th of the month following the month of the change. These mandatory re-portable changes include change in household size, start or end of job search, end of employment, start or end of school, and if a post secondary student completes a degree or training or if the client changes to another course of study.
27. How often do I have to renew my TSPCA?
Usually every 3-6 month based on the allowable activity a person is involved in. You will be sent a “re-determination” form in the mail. Fill it out and mail it back right away so that you can continue to get help paying for child care from TSPCA.
28. What happens if I move to another county?
You should tell your county worker right away.
29. Is there a limit to how long I can get TSPCA?
Yes. You are no longer eligible to receive assistance when your child(ren) have reached the age of 13