What is School Readiness (SR)?
School Readiness (SR) is a statewide program that offers financial assistance to low-income families for early child care and education so parents can become financially self-sufficient while their young ones succeed at school.
How do I apply?
Florida’s School Readiness program (SR) offers financial assistance to eligible low-income families for early education and care so they can become financially self-sufficient and their young children can be successful in school. Services vary based on individual needs. To apply for School Readiness, click here
What do I need to do to qualify?
The School Readiness program has three specific eligibility requirements:
- Parents(s) or guardian(s) must be working and/or attending school (college or trade) at least 20 hours a week OR disabled.
- Gross income must be at or below 150% of the federal poverty level for family size.
- Families must pay a copayment for child care costs (based on income and family size).
How much money can I make and still qualify?
Eligibility is determined by both income and family size. Families who earn up to 150% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) may qualify and may remain funded up to 85% of the State Median Income (SMI). For example, a family of three could earn up to $31,170 a year and still qualify to begin services. After initially receiving services, this same family could continue to qualify until they earned more than $48,753 a year. To view the Sliding Fee Scale, click Orange.
If my family is eligible, can I receive services right away?
Yes, if there are funds available to enroll your child(ren) and no waitlist. But it’s more likely you will be placed on the waitlist for a period of time before funding is available. While on the waitlist:
- You are required to verify and/or update your contact information, employment and family size, every six (6) months.
- Once funding becomes available, families are enrolled by priorities and date of application.
How does the waitlist work?
If you apply for School Readiness but funding won’t allow us to enroll your child(ren) right away, you will be put on a waiting list. The length of time you can expect to be on the waitlist may vary greatly and is unfortunately rather hard to predict. Additional funding sometimes comes in unexpectedly or people leave the program, making room for new clients. Remember, you must apply through the Florida Early Learning Family Portal in order to be on the waitlist. To go to Florida Early Learning Family Portal, click here
How long is the waitlist?
The number of children on a waitlist can be found on our website and the information is updated weekly. To learn more about the waitlist in your county, click Orange County.
I have already applied. How do I find out my spot on the waitlist?
We are not able to give you an exact “number” of where you are on the waitlist as this information changes daily. Placement changes as new clients apply, funding becomes available for enrollments to occur, and clients move or their needs change. After you are on the waitlist, keep us informed of changes in your address or other contact information. If we try to contact you and can’t, we will have no choice but to take your name off of the list. All client placements on the waitlist are based on the date they applied. Children are brought off the waitlist based on their priority group and age, and the date they applied.
I live in another county and plan to move to Orange County. Will my School Readiness funding transfer over?
Yes. If eligible, your family may continue to receive School Readiness services during your 12-month authorization period if you move to a different county within the state of Florida. Contact your current county of services to request a transfer to Orange County. To look up contact information, click here.
I am not currently employed. Will I be eligible for the program?
In order to be eligible for the program, you must be employed, attending school, or disabled (as determined and documented by a licensed physician). To see eligibility requirements, click here
What if I don’t qualify? Is there any other help available to me?
Yes, we offer Child Care Resource & Referral services free to any family, regardless of income. Our CCR&R Specialists can help identify providers that may match your child care needs or other programs, such as Head Start or Early Head Start, which may meet your needs. Price is often a concern for parents looking for child care, but the price is not necessarily an indication of quality. We can help you with:
- Referrals to available child care, not recommendations. Only you can determine whether a child care provider meets your needs and those of your child.
- Checklists that can make it easier to find the child care provider that is right for your family. Download checklists in English or Spanish.
- Information on quality child care, click here.
- Other community resources that may be able to assist you with financial concerns.
How will I be notified when I can enroll my children?
When funding becomes available, you will be notified by email at the email address that you used to create your Family Portal account. Make sure to remember this email address and password, and check it regularly for enrollment notification and other important information. If we try to contact you and can’t, we will have no choice but to inactivate your child(ren) from the waitlist.
Will my child care be free?
No. Once you enroll, you will be assessed a parent co-payment based on your total gross income and family size. This co-payment is paid directly to your child care provider. Please note that you may also have to pay an overage amount to your child care provider (Overage is the difference between the subsidy amount and what the provider charges). Your total child care cost will be explained to you at the time of enrollment.