Weekly Feature

2010-08-26 / Sports

Erie County increases income eligibility levels for child care

The Erie County Department of Social Services has announced that as a result of increased New York State funding for child care, eligibility levels for the low-income subsidy program will be increased from 125 percent to 175 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.

The increase went into effect Monday, and a family of three could earn up to $3,051.66 per month in order to qualify for these services.

“While our allocation was delayed by the elongated state budget process, the increase in funding for this critical service allows us to support families who are working toward independence,” Erie County Social Services Commissioner Carol Dankert said. “Providing child care subsidies to the working poor is an important component of helping them become more self-sufficient.”

The county is able to raise the income standard because its child care subsidy allocations were increased by $6 million over the 2009-10 state fiscal year. Funds are distributed by the Federal Child Care Block Grant and are then disbursed through New York State to offset the costs of child care for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families recipients and the working poor.

Earlier this year, repeated state cuts in funding forced the county to reduce income guidelines and freeze intake for the program to avoid a direct cost to county taxpayers. In June, a one-time allocation of stimulus dollars allowed the county to re-open intake for the Child Care Subsidy program.

The funding cuts that took place during the last several years resulted in reduced eligibility and loss of services to 674 families earlier this year. The newly increased funds will allow low-income working families who apply for services to once again receive child care assistance.

For those who wish to apply for services, call Erie County at 858-8953 or visit www. erie. gov/ depts/ socialservices/ daycare.

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