Good news: you may not be aware of, but if you are an employee of the service industry, the State of Texas offers free child care so parents can go back to work.

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It's a problem many parents face - working and finding affordable child care. What many of those same parents don't know is that help is available.

Cost of Childcare in Texas

Childcare costs can vary depending on age and time of day needed. According to a report form Tootris, the cost of infant child care is close to $800 a month, or almost $10,000 a year. For 4-year-olds and up, it's about $600 a month, or close to $7,000 a year.

Larger cities like Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin cost a bit higher than cities like Temple, Killeen, or Waco but generally it's around 10% of your yearly earnings to put 1 child in a pre-school or after school child care. It's a cost that many parents have decided to avoid simply by not working and choosing to be stay at home moms or dads.

Help With Child Care in Texas

The Service Industry Recovery Child Care program offers parents who work in the service industry - like restaurants, hotels, and retail to name a few - pay for child care to enable them to work. reports that the Service Industry Recovery Child Care currently pays for more than 11,000 children in Texas. The parents can even pick their own child care provider as long as they are licensed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

How to Qualify for the Service Industry Recovery Child Care Program

As with most programs, there are qualifications you must meet in order to be eligible for the financial help. Single parents need to work at least 25 hours a week, or 50 for a two parent home, and the family must have an income at or below 75 percent of the State of Texas' median income. Plus, the parent must be employed by a service industry such as a restaurant, grocery store, bar etc.

Sometimes the hardest part of getting the help you need is not knowing that the help is available.

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