United Way Faces Cuts to Child Care Scholarship Program

By: Sarah Batista
By: Sarah Batista

June 9, 2006

Cathy Train, the President of the United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area, recently got the word that the federal government is threatening to cut close to a quarter of a million dollars in funding to their child care temporary assistance program. That would dramatically impact how some families in the program pay for child care.

"The cost of child care can be 30, 40, 50 percent of their gross income at any point in time, the loss of a partial scholarship is a huge hit to their annual budget," said Train.

The change is part of the Federal Deficit Reduction act, a push to transfer the money to their welfare to work program which is designed to help parents looking for jobs, with childcare expenses.

Right now, the United Way helps pay child care costs for about 125 kids throughout the area whose parents are already working.

But without the money, Train's worried those low-income families will be left with no choice but to quit their jobs.

"[It's a] situation that we really don't want to happen in our community, as well as we need to be concerned about the kids and the stability of their day as well," said Train.

None of the figures are final, so there's no official word yet on how much the program will end up with. But United Way officials say they're hoping to maintain the families at least through the summer. If anyone is affected by the cut, they'll be given plenty of notice.

Delegate David Toscano is working at the state level to come up with other plans to bring in money and lessen the impact.

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