Department of Human Services Recognizes Work of Child Care Providers, Highlights New State Child Care Tax Credit Available to Help Working Families


Carlisle, PA – Department of Human Services (DHS) Acting Secretary Meg Snead today visited Carlisle Early Education Center to thank child care center staff and providers who enrich young minds through early education and allow parents to go to work every day knowing their children are safe. Acting Secretary Snead also highlighted the Wolf Administration and General Assembly’s $25 million investment in the new child care tax credit program, which can help ease child care costs for working families.

“As a parent, I know first-hand that high-quality, affordable child care is invaluable to parents, kids, and families,” said Acting Secretary Snead. “I want to thank child care providers like Carlisle Early Education Center because the care and learning opportunities they provide are essential to helping children across Pennsylvania grow and thrive.”

The cost of child care is a burden for working families and, if unaffordable, can keep parents out of the workforce and children out of early learning programs that contribute to social, emotional, and educational development. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the average annual cost of infant care in Pennsylvania is nearly $12,000. That is why the Wolf Administration’s 2022-23 state budget includes a brand-new program called the Child and Dependent Care Enhancement Program, which is modeled after the federal child and dependent care tax credit.

This program benefits working families with children in child care who qualify for the federal child and dependent care tax credit. More than 220,000 families received the federal credit in Pennsylvania, and that same number of families are expected to qualify for this new state tax credit.

This credit can be claimed when filing state taxes beginning in 2023. The credit is also refundable, meaning qualified taxpayers will not owe any state taxes on the amount they receive. It is estimated that the average tax credit will be $171, but the tax credit that families receive will be income-based. Pennsylvanians paying for child care services could be eligible for the following credits:

  • $180 (one child) or $360 (two or more children) for households earning above $43,000, or
  • $315 (one child) or $630 (two or more children) for households earning less than $43,000.

Studies show that children who learn in high-quality child care and Pre-K programs perform better in school and are more likely to graduate, while high-quality early learning programs also help students develop the social and emotional skills they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond.

Throughout the pandemic, child care centers and early childhood educators like the staff at Carlisle Early Education Center have worked and continue to work tirelessly through the difficulties to offer families of all backgrounds and means an opportunity for quality, equitable child care. The ability for child care centers to remain well staffed and open are crucial to the economy’s health and to child development for the current generation of young children.

The Carlisle Early Education Center (CEEC) was opened in 1964 by the YWCA as the Carlisle Day Care Center.  Due to the limited availability of quality childcare, women from the YWCA organized, chartered, solicited funds, and began the program for the sole purpose of meeting the needs of the Carlisle community. Since its inception, CEEC has been committed to providing quality care for children of working families. This holds true today, with a STAR 4 program, qualified educated teachers, well-rounded curriculum, and nurturing environment.  

CEEC’s mission is more than caring for children. They believe each moment that a child is in their care is an opportunity for education and growth. Students enter CEEC each day to a loving environment with teachers who are passionate about early childhood education. These teachers promote play with a purpose using “The Creative Curriculum” model. This curriculum style provides activities for all domains that are both fun and an educational learning experience. It also balances both teacher-directed and child-initiated learning, with an emphasis on responding to children’s learning styles and building on their strengths and interests. This curriculum clearly defines the teacher’s vital role in connecting content, teaching, and learning for children. It features goals and objectives linked directly to valid and reliable assessment instruments, along with cross-walking with the PA Early Learning Standards.

A key aspect to CEEC’s program is retaining and hiring highly qualified staff who are motivated to pursue professional development opportunities as well as higher levels of education to continuously improve upon their care giving techniques. CEEC provides stability in all of their classrooms, recognizing the need for consistent care and familiarity and the importance it plays in a child’s development. CEEC has partnered with the professional development office at PASSHE to provide no cost or low-cost tuition. This allows teachers the opportunity to further their education, thus empowering them with great teaching skills to provide the highest quality of care to young children.

“I am proud to say I have worked at CEEC for 18 years. Starting with my college internship, then as a teacher for various age groups. Once I achieved my teaching certification, I taught Preschool and Pre-K Counts for eight years. I continued to further my education and grow in the field, becoming the Executive Director ten years ago. Since then, we as a team have been dedicated to continuing to grow and build our center into the wonderful school it is today. Here at CEEC we feel that we are a small community within a small community. We consider those who work for us and those who attend our program as part of our CEEC family. We understand the important role we play in our community and strive to do what we can for this community, and the children and families within it. We pride ourselves in providing a nurturing environment that promotes learning and quality childcare to all families. At CEEC we believe that a happy childhood lasts forever and aim to provide long-lasting, fond memories of a wonderful childhood experience,” said Executive Director Melissa Ocker.

To find licensed child care programs operating in Pennsylvania visit Families who are having trouble finding a provider or who are lower income and need assistance paying for care can contact their local Early Learning Resource Center at

MEDIA CONTACT: Brandon Cwalina – [email protected]

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