WCCC: Priority Populations and Wait List
Working Connections Child Care has a wait list when enrollment exceeds 33,000 households. Currently, there is no waiting list for WCCC.
When there is an active wait list to receive WCCC benefits, applicants can expect four to eight weeks on the wait list unless they are a member of a priority population.
The following groups receive priority access to WCCC:
- Families who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits. This includes families “curing a sanction” and child-only TANF cases.
- Income-eligible families who have a child with special needs.
- Teen parents who do not live with a parent or guardian and attend high school full-time. The high school must offer on-site child care.
All other eligible families receive child care benefits on a first-come, first-served basis until the program reaches a set limit. The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) keeps a wait list of families who apply. Families are notified by mail when there are openings in the child care program and have 10 days to complete the application process.
What happens if I am eligible but not in one of the priority groups?
You will get a letter from DSHS that places you on the wait list. The wait list is organized by date of screening applications. DSHS will contact you when space is available.
How will DSHS contact me when space is available in WCCC?
DSHS will send you a letter when space is available. You must contact DSHS within 10 days from the date of the letter to complete the application process. The only way DSHS will contact you is by mail, so make sure to tell DSHS right away if your mailing address changes. Call them at 1-877-501-2233.
What do I do after I get a letter from DSHS telling me there is space available in WCCC?
Contact DSHS right away! There are three ways to contact them:
You must contact DSHS within 10 days from the date of the letter or you will lose your spot on the wait list. If you lose your spot, you can re-apply for WCCC benefits. You will receive a new spot on the wait list in the order your new application was received.
When you call DSHS, have the following information available for you and the other parent if she/he lives in the home with you and the child:
- Name and phone number of your employer
- Days and hours you work
- Your hourly wage
- Your gross income for the last three months or your tax return for the previous calendar year
- Amount of any unearned income you receive, such as child support or SSI benefits
- If the other parent is in the household, the same information for them<
- Proof of your child’s citizenship or legal residency
- Current child support order for the child needing care, if any
- The name and phone number of the child care provider
- Your phone number
What options are there for families while they are on a wait list?
Families can call Child Care Resource & Referral Network to locate any child care providers in the community who offer a sliding fee scale or scholarships. There are also statewide hotlines that can help connect families to local resources, including:
How many families are on the wait list?
That depends on how many families apply for WCCC. In 2010, an average of 35,000 families received WCCC benefits per month. In January 2011, more than 36,000 families received benefits. WCCC can serve up to 33,000 families per month.
How long do families stay on the wait list?
That depends on how many families enter or exit the WCCC program. DEL monitors WCCC enrollment every month and opens enrollment as space becomes available. Generally, applicants can expect four to eight weeks on the wait list.
Has Washington had a wait list for this program before?
Yes, but it was more than 20 years ago.
Do other states use wait lists?
Yes, Oregon and California have wait lists for their child care subsidy programs.
Do families lose WCCC if they lose TANF benefits due to the five-year time limit?
Families may be eligible for a 28-day GAP period while they look for work and can continue to receive WCCC during this time. When families reapply, they must meet the new rules to receive priority access or they will be placed on the wait list.