Monday, December 19, 2016

Child Care Subsidies Likely To Decline

Child care subsidies for low-income families may become scarcer. States are starting to implement a 2014 federal law that requires them to do more to ensure that children who receive subsidies have a safe, educational experience. It requires states to keep families eligible for subsidies for 12 months, run background checks for care providers, and set standard ratios of children to providers.

Anticipating these changes, in 2014 Connecticut began allowing families to remain eligible for assistance for 12 months. Enrollment grew as families stayed in the program for a few extra months. Higher enrollment, plus previously scheduled wage increases for child care workers, have put Connecticut’s subsidy program $34 million over budget. The state recently announced that it will stop accepting new applications at the end of December from all but families receiving cash assistance. 

Parents who already get subsidies won’t be affected. Over 2,000 families are currently on the state’s waiting list for subsidies. A year’s child care for a Connecticut toddler can range from $7,000 to $20,000, according to the Connecticut United Way. That comprises between 23 and 62% of the average income for a nursing assistant in the state. 

Source: The Pew Charitable Trusts, 12/9/16, Child Care Subsidies; CT News Junkie, 12/8/16, Care4Kids

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