Thursday, November 21, 2013

Day care subsidies: What Maggie Brooks didn't say

Posted By on Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 5:35 PM

When Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks presented her 2014 budget proposal recently, she said that the county would provide more funding than the state required for child day care subsidies. And as a result, she said, no families currently receiving child day care subsidies would lose their slots.

But Brooks chose her words carefully. She didn't say that the county plans to increase the funding it's putting toward child day care subsidies, just that it was providing more than the minimum requirement.

And a local advocate says that the budget proposal actually decreases the amount the county pays toward day care subsidies by approximately $1.3 million, says Dr. Jeff Kaczorowski, president of the Children's Agenda. Each year, the Children's Agenda analyzes county spending on child and family programs.

The county's support for child day care subsidies would drop from $7.4 million this year to $6.1 million in 2014, under Brooks's proposed budget. The budget document says that in 2014, the subsidies provide day care slots for an average of 6,587 children. The money contained in the cut could fund an additional 485 slots, Kaczorowski says.

"This is about working families," he says.

The county is also receiving about $725,000 less in state child day care subsidies this year, Kaczorowski says. The bulk of the subsidy funding comes from the state.

The Children's Agenda is also alarmed at a decision to zero-out funding for the Parents as Teachers program, Kaczorowski says. Parents as Teachers is an evidence-based home visitation program for pregnant women and their families who don't qualify for other similar programs. The program costs about $500,000 and serves approximately 56 families, Kaczorowski says.

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