WFNJ limits assistance to a maximum of 60 months (five years) over your lifetime. Eligibility is determined by the County. You may be eligible to receive subsidy assistance for child care as long as you have an open TANF/WFNJ case through Mercer County and fulfill the program requirements. Once you gain employment, your TANF case cash benefits will be reduced and eventually stop. If eligible, child care assistance may be extended for up to two years under Post TANF.
The period of service is specified on the WFNJ service authorization sent to the child care provider. Once the period of care has been entered into our system, the information is on the “PAPA,” which will be mailed to you. You may also ask your child care provider to look in their “portal” for the last date of the current agreement. Child Care Connection will not notify you that your care is ending unless we are prematurely terminating an agreement based on varying circumstances affecting your eligibility or the provider’s eligibility to receive payment.
Additional referrals to various providers are available at no cost to families. For WFNJ customers, a change of care can be requested at any time by calling the Referral Department @609-989-8130. (For NJCK customers, a change of care can be requested by calling 609-989-8035 and requesting a new Pre-PAPA). However, in most cases, State policies require that we give a provider minimum five days advance notice.
Several factors could affect the availability of child care providers for your child care needs. State-issued licenses dictate the age range of children permitted to enroll. Additionally, there are federal regulations with which providers must remain in compliance, and some providers choose not to participate. A dependent care specialist at Child Care Connection will be able to assist you, depending on your specific needs.
The State maximum reimbursement rate for subsidy is based on the age of your child, the type of child care provider you select, and whether full- or part-time care. If a child care provider’s rate is above the State maximum rate, you may be required to pay the fee difference. Post-TANF (TCC) WFNJ cases may be assessed a copay based on income and family size. The State maximum payment is reduced based on the amount of the assessed copay. You would be expected to pay the copay directly to the provider on a regular basis.
A fee difference is the difference between the provider’s tuition rate and the State maximum rate. Some providers will waive this fee difference, and some will negotiate, while others expect full payment for services to continue. It is your responsibility to be aware of any fee differences incurred or to negotiate them, if appropriate.
Child Care Connection must receive a referral from a WFNJ case manager at the Mercer County One-Stop Career Center to begin the child care process. Referrals are processed in the order in which they are received. Counselors will attempt to contact parents with 24 to 48 hours of receiving the referral. Although referrals are handled as expeditiously as possible, several factors will impact the length of time before staff are able to reach you for your child care needs, including inaccurate telephone numbers or e-mail addresses, full voice mailboxes or voicemails that aren’t set up, inaccurate or incomplete case information, and case manager availability. It is important to allow time to arrange care versus attempting to make arrangements the day before child care is needed.