• August 28, 2014

Increase in workforce funding means more day care options

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Posted: Friday, May 9, 2014 4:30 am

Workforce Solutions of Central Texas expanded its enrollment by about 300 children for its child care program that helps offset costs for low-income or unemployed families.

“This program is especially helpful to bridge the gap for those parents who are at the lower end of the wage scale or not employed,” said Susan Kamas, Workforce Solutions of Central Texas executive director.

The program, which is one of the largest Workforce Solutions offers, uses $8.8 million for federal and local matching funds to enroll children in private or nonprofit day care operations.

Workforce Solutions received additional funds in March, which made the program available for more children.

“Usually, it makes the difference in someone going to work or taking a job compared to not taking a job at all,” Kamas said. “If you are a parent, day care is the most expensive thing we pay for next to housing, and we want quality day care for our children.”

In the seven-county area where Workforce Solutions operates, about 2,300 children benefit from the program, Kamas said.

“This is a big part of what we do,” she said.

The majority of those children live in Bell, Coryell and Milam counties, Kamas said.

Once in the program, parents choose from any provider who is monitored by Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, stated the Workforce Solutions’ website.

Families in the program are evaluated from three to 12 months, depending on their situation and as determined by a case worker, the website stated.

The program is tiered, so if a parent’s wage increases, he or she starts to pay a portion of the cost, Kamas said.

Workforce Solutions also sees this program as an economic development tool that helps lower-paying employers keep workers who would otherwise have to stay at home.

“In most families, both parents have to work today, and they have a real tough time finding child care,” Kamas said. “Oftentimes this is a determining factor whether or not they are able to continue working. We are assisting employers that don’t pay high wages by offering child care.”

A family of four making $4,737 or less per month could qualify for the program.

To enroll in the program, parents can contact any of the Workforce Solutions Centers or go to www.workforcelink.com for details.

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