Childcare Funding Continues to Decrease
Additional cuts expected to affect help available in the fall.
Finding a way to work and care for their children will become even more difficult for thousands of Colorado parents this fall.
Additional funding cuts to the state’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and budget reductions from sequestration mean waiting lists for child-care assistance will grow even longer, said Kim Schulz, child care director for the Denver YMCA. The city’s “Y” serves 1,500 children every day, and a third of their parents receive some kind of assistance for their care.
Schulz said funding cuts will leave some parents without child care.
“It’s going to hit them pretty fast and pretty furious,” she said, “because when it starts to really kind of trickle down, it’s going to happen in the fall when we transition out of day camp into before and after school, and it’s going to be more families on a wait list.”
The number of children living in poverty is on the increase – almost double since the 2000 U.S. Census. Meanwhile, funding for CCAP has decreased by close to 12 percent in the past seven years. Last year CCAP served about 10 percent of the 300,000 children who qualify.
Financial stress among families with children too young for school has more than doubled in the past 12 years, partly because the challenge of finding child care is a year-round issue. Chaer Robert, coordinator for the Family Economic Security Program at the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, said evidence shows that consistent child care helps parents get ahead.
“Once the kids are in school,” she said, “poverty tends to lesson because parents have more options in terms of being able to get employment and keep employment.”
The center is encouraging state and local lawmakers to expand child-care options for parents in order to reduce poverty, allocate more funding for CCAP and fix the child-care tax credit to include more families.
The 2013 Kids Count Colorado profile is online at datacenter.kidscount.org