Choosing a preschool is an exciting time as you watch your child develop. However,  preschool is not inexpensive and many families find themselves struggling to cover the cost associated with this big first step of preparing your child for the future. Fortunately there are some resources to help.

The Preschool Open Doors (POD) program is a statewide child care program that provides subsidies to eligible low- and moderate-income families to pay preschool tuition for up to one year at any of the state’s licensed 431 preschools. The POD subsidy provides children whose families might otherwise not be able to afford preschool the opportunity to gain essential skills to be successful in school and in life. The program is operated by the Department of Human Services.

To qualify, your family must meet these requirements:

A) Age of Child: Priority will be for children born between August 1, 2015 – July 31, 2016 who are underserved or at-risk children. Families whose children were born between August 1, 2015 – July 31, 2016 are eligible to apply for POD services.

B) Gross family Income within allowable income limits: Families are income-ranked on a sliding scale to ensure funds are distributed to those most in need. If eligible, you may still have to pay some monthly preschool costs.

For the 2020-2021 POD year, the Department has over $11 million for POD subsidies. Applications must be received at the PATCH HONOLULU POD office during an open application period to be considered for POD services.

Your child’s assistance may begin July 2020 or later, depending on your preschool’s start date, and continue through June 2021. Your child may attend any DHS licensed preschool, group child care center, or group child care home you select.

Applications will be accepted through Tuesday, March 31, 2020 at the PATCH HONOLULU POD office for the POD year beginning in July 2020.

For more information or to request an application, starting January 2, 2020, please contact the POD HONOLULU office, PATCH, toll-free at 1-800-746-5620 or PODAdmin@patch-hi.org. Applications will also be available from January 2, 2020 through March 31, 2020 for downloading at http://patchhawaii.org/programs/preschool-open-doors/