childcarescene.jpgOne of the most important ways that McDowell County Department of Social Services helps families is through our Childcare Subsidy program. Funded by a combination of state and federal dollars, this program helps parents (and in some cases, grandparents and other legal guardians) pay a portion of the cost of childcare expenses so that they can work and/or attend school.

Smart Start

Smart Start funding is also an important source of money that helps the Department provide subsidized childcare services. The money received from Smart Start goes directly to help families and allows the Department to serve more families than they could with just the state and federal money alone. Smart Start also helps childcare providers by giving "bonus money" to those that meet extra educational and environmental goals. Smart Start has helped to increase the quality of pre-school childcare in McDowell County.

You can find more information about Smart Start in McDowell (and other counties) by checking their website here:

Note: Another site that is very helpful when comparing childcare services is this one:
(Click on the parent tab)


In order to qualify for financial assistance for childcare, parents must meet certain income guidelines and parents must also have a need for child care. Most parents receiving childcare assistance are working and/or attending school full-time. The subsidy program can assist parents with the cost of child care for children from newborns through age 12.  (Note: In some cases, children over age 12 may qualify for childcare assistance.)

The INCOME GUIDELINES for determining your family's eligibility for services is based on the guidelines established by the state of North Carolina and look like this:



Division of Child Development Maximum Gross Monthly Income


Family Size

133% FPL

200% FPL



















































Ages 6-12

Ages 0-5 & Special Needs


Note: To help your childcare worker determine eligibility for assistance, bring the following things with you to your appointment:

  • proof of employment and/or proof of your attendance in school
  • most recent check stubs verifying wages (for both parents, if applicable)
  • proof of any child support paid to a child that does not live with you
  • social security numbers for all family members


Contact Info

 Abby Pittman




Note: Sometimes the childcare coordinator is on the phone or with another family needing help, but she always checks her voice mail and writes down messages.

When you call and reach her voice mail, please leave clear instructions about how to reach you (your telephone number and an alternate telephone number - your mobile telephone number may be changed/disconnected when we get to your name on the waiting list so it is a good idea to leave an alternate land line number of a friend or family member where we may leave a message), the reason you need childcare (remember there has to be a need for care - such as work or school) and your total income (the amount you earn before taxes, insurance and anything else is subtracted from your paycheck).  


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