Aaron and Katherine

Minnesota’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) helps make child care affordable for income-eligible families.  This can often be life-changing for children and parents, as it was for the Santamaria Mendez family.

Four-year-old Aaron Santamaria Mendez of St. Paul is a curious kid who loves to explore and figure out how things work.  His mom says she can see him going into engineering when he grows up because of his inquisitive nature.

Katherine Santamaria Mendez had Aaron when she was just 15 years old.  It wasn’t easy for the single mom — who was trying to raise a child and finish school.  With the help of her family, and Agape, a high school for teens who are pregnant or parenting, Katherine was able to graduate and attend college.  She is now a junior at the University of Minnesota and is hoping to get a law degree in the future.

“Child care assistance is a form of helping people like me who are in school and we want to someday be 100% independent,” said Katherine.

Support from the Child Care Assistance Program made it possible for Aaron to attend the St. Paul Midway YMCA Early Learning Center, a 4-star Parent Aware rated program, while she went to school.

“It takes off a lot of stress,” said Katherine.  “And knowing that CCAP also really focuses on the opportunity to get good, quality child care is also very important.”

Katherine says Aaron is on a track to succeed in kindergarten and in life thanks to CCAP and access to high-quality early education.

Click to watch Aaron’s story. (VIDEO)

Think Small administers the Basic Sliding Fee Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) for Ramsey County.  Last year, through our work, more than 1,700 children received funding to help with child care costs so their parents could work, look for a job or attend school.