Updated 05/21/2012 06:46 PM
Chemung County child care subsidy ends Friday
For low-income families in Chemung County, the cost of child care is fairly affordable thanks to a county subsidy. But as of Friday, that subsidy will no longer be available to a number of families. Our Lara Greenberg explains why and what parents can do about it.
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ELMIRA, N.Y. -- It's naptime at Children of Promise Childcare Center in Elmira.
These children's parents pay out of pocket for day care. But their teacher, Miss Beckie, is about to lose her son's child care subsidy.
"Seventeen dollars right now a week. Starting next week, it'll be 90 dollars a week."
Last week, some families on the higher end of the low-income spectrum were notified their child care subsidy would stop. The subsidy caseload and market rate charged to the program have gone up. And the state has no additional funding for the county. Two-hundred forty-five kids will be affected.
"There's just no more to give. So as bad as I feel about it, you've got to remember that the feds cut their subsidy," said Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli.
The county receives $3.8 million a year for child care. But it spends about $4.8 million.
"They're receiving quality care here, which is going to be very difficult to get if they're having to pay triple and sometimes quadruple more than what they're paying now," said Gingerbread House Daycare executive director Joy Overacker.
If parents can't afford the difference on their own, they might have to give up child care altogether.
"I thought about another job. I thought about maybe I'd even have to quit my job. Family and friends, but they work the same hours I do," said Beckie Gunderson of Chemung.
Now families only have a few days to figure out how to pay the higher fees or say no to their kids.
"My son does karate. He does baseball. He'll be doing football. You know, it's going to have to take away from other sports," said Gunderson.
And take more out of parents' pockets.
There are still more than 800 children who will be served by the subsidy.
A meeting will be held for child care providers at the Human Resources Building on Pennsylvania Avenue in Elmira at 5:30 Tuesday night.