Child Care Subsidies – California

For some workers, pay raise comes with loss of cheap child care, By Natalie Kitroeff, January 6, 2017, Los Angeles Times: “When the minimum wage in California rose to $10.50 an hour Jan. 1, more than a million people got a raise. But for an untold number of families across the state, that pay bump could price them out of child care.  This year, for the first time, two parents working full time at minimum wage jobs, with one child, will be considered too well off to qualify for state subsidies for day care and preschool. It’s been 10 years since the state set the threshold for who is poor enough to get the benefit, which is pegged to 2005 income levels…”

Child Care Subsidies – Maryland

Wealthy Maryland is poor in child-care subsidies, By Josh Hicks, December 22, 2016, Washington Post: “A group of Maryland lawmakers is pushing Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and the General Assembly to increase financial assistance for families struggling to cover child-care costs, noting that the state ranks among the least generous in the nation for such aid.  Advocates say state and federal funding levels for child-care subsidies are too low, forcing Maryland to restrict how many low-income families qualify for vouchers and greatly limiting which day-care centers those families can afford.  Adding to the financial pressure are new federal regulations that say states must subsidize child care at rates that allow parents to enroll their children in higher-priced programs, rather than only the cheapest…”

Child Care Subsidies

Child care subsidies, vital for many workers, are dwindling, By Sophie Quinton, December 9, 2016, Stateline: “Before she heads to her shift at a nursing home in New Haven, Connecticut, every morning, nursing assistant Elisha LaRose drops her 4-year-old son off at a day care center. She’s grateful he’ll be in a safe, educational environment all day. LaRose, 30, is a single mother and could never afford to send her son to day care without a child care subsidy. The subsidy, a mix of federal and state money (combined with a separate Connecticut program), cuts her weekly day care costs to $48. Without the help, she said, she’d probably have to leave her son with an unlicensed baby sitter.  In many states, subsidies may be about to get scarcer…”

Child Care Subsidies – Connecticut

Child care subsidy saved for working parents in Care4Kids; most new families barred, By Josh Covner, November 29, 2016, Hartford Courant: “Working families who now receive a child care subsidy that helps parents keep their jobs can remain in Care4Kids under new state actions that cut a $6.1 million program-threatening deficit by more than half.  By closing Care4Kids to additional groups of new applicants, and applying extra money left over in a separate preschool program, the state can now renew subsidies for another year for all enrolled parents, officials said Tuesday…”

Child Care Subsidies – Connecticut

Child care subsidy for thousands of state’s working poor in danger, By Josh Kovner, November 16, 2016, Hartford Courant: “Elisha Larose takes home about $350 per week as a certified nurse’s aide in New Haven. Between rent, food, car insurance, medical bills, and utilities, the money is stretched thin for her and her 4-year-old son, Torraye.  She is making it, she says, with careful budgeting and the help of a child-care subsidy for working parents. She pays $48 per week for a pre-school center for Torraye that actually costs up to $297 a week.  But that subsidy is in jeopardy. It is provided through a program called Care4Kids that is $5.4 million in the red. The state has already closed the program to new applicants, and people whose year-long subsidy expires in the coming winter and spring may not be renewed…”

Child Care Subsidies – Louisiana

The state-budget cuts trapping poor parents, By Della Hasselle, September 29, 2016, The Atlantic: “Over the summer, Kinsley, then 19 months, was just starting to develop her vocabulary. Sometimes her mom, Christian Gobert, laughed about it, because the word Kinsley knew best was ‘no.’  But jokes aside, the New Orleans mother worries about her child’s language development, which she says is slower than some of her daughter’s peers…”

Child Care Subsidies – Oklahoma

DHS lifts freeze on child-care subsidies, By Ginnie Graham, July 1, 2016, Tulsa World: “After reviewing next year’s budget, officials at the Oklahoma Department of Human Services have decided to lift the freeze on child-care subsidies starting Friday. The original date to resume applications was to be Aug. 15, but DHS Director Ed Lake said many schools districts are opening enrollment earlier and subsidies will be needed.  As reported in the Tulsa World on Tuesday, the program had stopped taking new clients after the worsening state revenue failure showed it would run out of money. It is funded through a combination of the federal Child Care Development grant and state matching funds…”

Affordable Child Care

Child care cost, availability big hurdle for area workers, By Emilie Eaton and Fatima Hussein, May 9, 2016, Cincinnati Enquirer: “Half of Bobbie Hedrick’s salary goes towards paying for daycare.  ‘As a single parent, I can attest to how difficult it is to make ends meet with the high costs (of child care),’ she said.The Warsaw, Kentucky resident said she spends roughly $750 a month just to make sure her two kids have quality supervision while she is at work.  The cost and availability of child care doesn’t affect only those with children in daycare. It’s one of two key reasons why all kinds of companies across the Cincinnati region are having a hard time finding the right candidates to fill the area’s 25,000 unfilled jobs…”

Child Care Subsidies – Massachusetts

Computer woes delay child-care subsidies, By Stephanie Ebbert, November 20, 2015, Boston Globe: “About 1,600 low-income children remain stuck on a waiting list for subsidized child care because a computer system built by the state government has been beset by problems for four months.  The Department of Early Education and Care launched the new, $5.05-million system on July 1, despite concerns about its readiness raised by the child-care providers who rely on it to get paid…”

Child Care Subsidies – Illinois

Money for Illinois child care subsidies is running dry, By Nancy Cambria, February 25, 2015, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “For more than two decades, the Leslie Bates Davis Neighborhood House’s early childhood center has beat back the effects of poverty on young children in this ailing city.  The center operates in a once abandoned grocery store amid boarded-up businesses and crumbling sidewalks with the promise of the Gateway Arch in view from its parking lot.  With the help of federal and state funds as well as fundraising, it has grown in size, quality and staffing to host a Head Start program and earn national accreditation.  It serves nearly 150 children from some of the nation’s poorest households — with parents who count on the center to provide more than mere baby-sitting.  ‘They know how important it is their children get early education so they are ready for school,’ said Stephanie Rhodes, a vice president with Leslie Bates Davis in charge of child care.  As of this month, however, all of the progress made by the center and many others in Illinois is at risk…”

Child Care Subsidies – Oregon

New federal child care rules, meant to help families, could also harm them, says Oregon audit, By Amy Wang, January 5, 2014, The Oregonian: “As Oregon works to meet new federal rules meant to expand access to child care and improve its educational quality, the Oregon Secretary of State’s office and others are raising concerns that the families who most need stable and affordable child care could lose it as a result of those same rules. The rules are part of the recently reauthorized federal Child Care and Development Block Grant Act, which helps fund child care subsidies for lower-income families…”

Child Care Subsidies

Child care subsidies for low-income parents approved after years of cuts, By Diana Dillaber Murray, November 19, 2014, Oakland Daily Tribune: “For the first time in 18 years, Congress has approved funding to help ensure parents of some of the 11 million of the youngest children in low-income working families can afford child care. Congress reauthorized the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act 2014 Tuesday in a bipartisan vote. About 6 million children of the 11 million children in child care are babies and toddlers…”

Child Care Subsidies – Missouri

Participation in subsidized child care drops in Missouri, By Nancy Cambria, November 17, 2014, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “In the span of a year, Missouri lost more children than any other state from a federal program that helps working parents pay for child care. The figures, from an October survey by the Center for Law and Social Policy, or CLASP, show enrollment has dropped by 12,300 children statewide — more than a quarter of the net loss of enrollment nationwide. The report notes that in 2013 participation in the child care subsidy program hit a 15-year low despite a rise in child poverty and stagnant wages in service jobs typically filled by the poor. Last year about 1.5 million children used the subsidy per month versus a program high of 1.8 million per month in 2006…”

Child Care Subsidies – Missouri

Missouri’s child care subsidies are going to illegal day cares, By Nancy Cambria, August 16, 2014, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “When state regulators acted on a tip last year that an unlicensed home day care in the West End neighborhood of St. Louis was illegal, they found the provider watching 15 children. Of the 15 in her care, nine were related to the caregiver and six were not, state records show. Missouri law allows unlicensed providers to serve an unlimited number of related children, including nieces, nephews and grandchildren. But it limits unrelated children to four. So the regulators found the provider was over the limit by two kids — and running an illegal day care. Yet, records show, that didn’t stop the state of Missouri from paying her $1,103 in child care subsidies that month for six children. Or to continue paying her an average $807 in subsidies every month since…”

Child Care Subsidies – North Carolina

State budget could cost thousands child-care subsidies, By Emma Baccellieri, July 11, 2014, Charlotte Observer: “Hundreds of Charlotte children – and thousands across the state – could lose their after-school care when the state budget is approved. In an attempt to give higher priority to North Carolina’s youngest and poorest children, both the House and the Senate budgets include changes to how the state determines eligibility for child care subsidies. But while the proposed system would open up space for disadvantaged children under the age of 5, it would remove funding for nearly 12,000 school-age children – leaving many families in a difficult position…”

Child Care and Paid Sick Leave

Child-care issues move to political forefront as both parties position for midterms, By Zachary Goldfarb and Juliet Eilperin, June 23, 2014, Washington Post: “Paid leave and access to child care are surging to the top of the nation’s political debate as Democrats and Republicans seek to win votes and advance policies to address the economic struggles of families trying to raise children and hold jobs. A high-profile White House ‘working families’ summit Monday will focus on issues such as child care, paid family leave and equal pay between men and women. Politicians in both parties are also rolling out new work flexibility and child-care legislation amid predictions that such issues will be prominent in the 2014 midterm and 2016 presidential campaigns. Paid leave and child care are emerging as centerpiece issues for many Democrats, part of their broader attempt to portray Republicans as hostile to issues important to women. President Obama said last week . . .”

Child Are Subsidies – Maryland

Md. child care subsidy program underfunded, By Tricia Bishop, July 15, 2013, Baltimore Sun: “Maryland’s Child Care Subsidy program, which gives poor families vouchers for care so parents can work or go to school, is so underfunded that it hasn’t met federal rate guidelines in a decade and still uses income eligibility criteria from 2001. The deficit prevents thousands of families from participating and relegates many of those who do to the least expensive care available — often the lowest caliber in terms of facilities, educational offerings and staff training…”

Child Care Assistance

  • Legislature advances push for higher child care subsidies, By Martha Stoddard, May 23, 2013, Omaha World-Herald: “Nebraska ranks among the top states in number of working parents but dead last when it comes to helping those parents pay for child care. The state would climb to No. 44 under a bill that won second-round approval Wednesday in the Legislature. Legislative Bill 507 would allow Nebraska parents to qualify for child care subsidies at incomes up to 130 percent of the federal poverty level…”
  • In D.C., parents miss work, lose jobs trying to get child-care subsidy, By Brigid Schulte, May 15, 2013, Washington Post: “At 6:30 a.m. on a Wednesday early this month, Andria Swanson, dressed in a bright-pink terry cloth jumpsuit, joined a line that was already snaking down South Capitol Street in Congress Heights. She nervously counted the people ahead of her. ‘I’m number 19,’ she said. ‘That means I’ll get in today.’ At number 20, she said, caseworkers close the doors and tell you to come back another day…”
  • Grandparents urge state to reconsider cuts to child care assistance programs, By Beth Musgrave, May 21, 2013, Lexington Herald-Leader: “Grandparents pleaded with state officials Tuesday to reverse a freeze on new applications for a program that provides $300 in monthly assistance to relatives who take custody of abused and neglected children. Among those testifying at a public hearing Tuesday was Sandra Flynn of Lexington, who has been caring for five grandchildren — including a set of twins who were born addicted to drugs — for two years. Flynn said she relies on the $300 check per child and a little less than $300 in food stamps to provide for her family of seven…”

Early Childhood Education – Missouri

Missouri early childhood advocates hope to avoid repeat of cuts last year, By Nancy Cambria, April 20, 2013, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “William Blaylock knows from experience how state budget negotiations currently going on in Jefferson City can affect his work directing a day care. Last year — in what was widely viewed as a bad year for early childhood education — the Missouri Legislature trimmed $14 million in funding for child care and preschool programs, mostly in last-minute deals to balance the budget. Blaylock said the cuts placed his preschool, CoCo’s Kidz of St. Louis, in a lurch. The licensed center lost all of its 17 subsidized slots for infants and toddlers in low-income families…”

“Iowa Kids,” Des Moines Register Special Report

Unprecedented Challenges for Iowa Kids, special report homepage, Des Moines Register:

  • In child care, struggles with cost and quality, By Sara Sleyster, March 17, 2013, Des Moines Register: “Lindsay Trumblee spent a month searching for child care she thought would keep her toddler daughter safe, happy and learning. ‘I had checked out centers and just was really discouraged — there were too many kids. It was not organized,’ said Trumblee, 24, who eventually found an in-home provider where Avri, now 3, has thrived. Like Trumblee, parents around the country have long found the search for child care to be a time of high anxiety. Often, parents struggle to match their desire for the best care for their children with what they can afford. In Iowa, the search can be especially difficult. The state licenses child care centers before they open, but in-home child care businesses that care for fewer than six children can start without any state oversight. Parents must navigate a patchwork of providers with varying education levels and experience who offer uneven care…”
  • ‘Child care cliff’ makes it tough for working poor to get ahead, By Sara Sleyster, March 17, 2013, Des Moines Register: “The parents of 4-year-old Jocelyn Fernandez last month faced the threat of losing $600 a month in state child care assistance and having to pull their daughter from the center she attends. The problem? Her mother, Leslie Ortiz, had taken a new job last fall with better pay to help the family make ends meet. With the income of her husband, Luis Fernandez, who works at Auto Zone, the family was earning $200 a month over the eligibility limit for child care assistance. Keeping the job and keeping their daughter in child care would have left the family worse off financially. Iowa experts call the situation the Ortiz family faced ‘the child care cliff.’ All state child care assistance for a family ends abruptly when they reach a certain income. Critics say the sharp cutoff has the unintended consequences of hindering working-poor families who want to climb the ladder of self-sufficiency. Earn even a few more pennies an hour, and a family’s financial situation is suddenly worse…”