Relief On the Way for Families Who Need Childcare

February 22, 2018 06:35 PM

(ABC 6 News) – An assistance program that helps low-income families get high-quality child-care is getting a multi-million dollar boost.
Clare Sanford, the Director of Government Community Relations for New Horizon Academy, says federal funding was approved recently for Minnesota. 
"Congress came to a budget agreement. They effectively doubled funding for something called the childcare and development block grant which is a block grant that goes out to states. All 50 states to support childcare for low-income working families,” said Sanford. 
Amanda Martinson, a single mother of three says she couldn’t afford childcare without it, "there's no way I could have my son at the academy that he attends without it." 
Jon Losness, the Executive Director of Families First of Minnesota, says Amanda isn't the only person who's been stuck between a rock and a hard place before.
"In a childcare center which is where the growth is in childcare providers it can go anywhere from $300 to $400 and up, so it's very expensive for young families,” said Losness. 
That amount is per week.
However, it's estimated Minnesota will get an additional $38 million a year.  
It's money parents like Amanda depend on.

“It’s definitely challenging when you don't have those resources because it makes it harder to work," she said. "It makes it harder to build a life for you and your family when you have to miss out on opportunities to work because you don't have anyone to watch your children."
Sanford says the funds could be used two ways.


"One is to increase those reimbursement rates for families," she said. "Another way is to pull families off [the] waiting list and give more families access to the program itself. We have several counties in Minnesota that have [the] waiting list of over a thousand families because there's not enough funding,” added Sanford. 
Meanwhile, Amanda says she's counting down the days until her son is completely done with daycare, "June we will be done with the pre-school program. And it'll be great."
The money has yet to be distributed to the states, but Congress has until next month to make sure the money goes out.
Last spring Families First found about 1,900 children in Olmsted County are on a list waiting for child care. 


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