BATON ROUGE, La. — After adding 7,000 children to the rolls, Louisiana is reaching its limit in a key child care aid program and will start a waiting list next month.

Families that apply between now and July 1 can get in without a wait. After that, state officials said Monday the new applicants will head to the waiting list, The Advocate reported .

The federally-funded Child Care Assistance Program helps pay the cost of child care while their low-income parents are at work, school or in job training. Children receiving the aid can be as old as 12, but most are from birth to five years old.

The Louisiana Department of Education has made changes to bump up use of the program, boosting rolls to 18,000 and growing. Other states have similar waiting lists.

To qualify for the aid in Louisiana, a family of four can earn at most $39,084 a year.

Applications for the program that are received July 1 or later will be prioritized based on the date they are received. Those who manage to exit the waiting list and begin receiving benefits will be notified by phone, mail and email.

After a year on the waiting list, families will be dropped and will need to reapply, but they will receive 30 days advance notice before their names are purged.

Children who are exempt from the waiting list include: those already receiving child care assistance, homeless children, children whose families participate in Early Head Start, children in the Strategies To Empower People program, children in foster care or children requiring special needs care.

Information from: The Advocate,

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