(WKBW release) Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz on Monday announced that Erie County will expand its subsidized day care program by returning the income eligibility rate to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.
According to a news release, the County will be able to raise the income standard with no local fiscal impact until 2014 by leveraging available federal and state child care funds.
“By leveraging unused child care funds, we will now be able to restore the subsidized child care eligibility rate to 200% without any fiscal impact on local taxpayers,” Poloncarz said in the news release. “This means dozens upon dozens of families in our community will have access to high-quality, affordable day care for their children while allowing their parents to work.”
Poloncarz noted that day care is not just a vital service for working families and a meaningful experience for children but also an important building block for the economy.
According to the state study by Cornell University Linking Economic Development and Child Care Research Project, Buffalo-Niagara Falls has the highest child care multiplier impact of any Metropolitan Statistical Area in New York State:
• For every $1.00 spent on child care in Buffalo-Niagara, $2.06 of additional economic activity is generated in the local economy; and,
• 1.56 other jobs are created by every 1 child care job added to the Buffalo-Niagara economy.
Poloncarz added, “The child care industry supports businesses and workers, and is a significant contributor to our local economy. By making subsidies available, Erie County is helping parents remain employed and reducing their need for public assistance, while helping businesses attract and retain the workforce they need to succeed, and injecting the local economy with millions of dollars in state and federal funding. In short, subsidized child care is a win any way you look at it.”
Currently, at an eligibility level of 175%, Erie County’s day care subsidy provides services for approximately 3,700 children. The increase to the 200% level would extend day care to up to 200 additional children each month. In addition to the income eligibility information, to qualify for the Low Income Child Care program, eligible parents pay a portion of the child care costs calculated by taking a percentage of the difference between the parent’s gross annual income and eligibility rate. Erie County’s current parent fee percentage rate is 35%, the maximum level.
Funds are distributed by the Federal Child Care Block Grand and are then distributed through New York State to offset the costs of child care for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families recipients and the working poor.
This increase will take effect on March 5, 2012, and those who wish to apply for services should call the County’s Department of Social Services at (716) 858-8953 or visit www.erie.gov/depts/socialservices/daycare for more information.