Childcare subsidies critical for working families

Nov. 06, 2012 @ 06:50 PM

Childcare assistance plays a valuable role in helping low and moderate income family’s access higher quality childcare than they could otherwise afford on their own. Research shows that subsidies increase the likelihood of stable employment and increased earnings. Given the large body of research indicating the link between household income and child well-being, increasing the economic security of low-income children is a worthy result on its own.

Childcare assistance, referred to as a subsidy, is based on the family income and size, and the parents pay a portion of the weekly costs based on their income. The majority of funds for this program are state and federal, smaller amounts to expand this program in each community are provided by local Partnerships for Children (Smart Start).

In our community additional support is provided by the United Way of Greater High Point. Each year they provide a $32,000 grant designated for working low and moderate income families in the Archdale-Trinity area so they may enroll their infant or toddler in a 4-5 star program.

Fortunately in Randolph County, quality childcare is available to all families to support healthy child development and to promote the outcomes that high-quality childcare can have for the most vulnerable children.

Numerous studies find childcare assistance plays a valuable role in helping low-and moderate income family’s access higher quality child care than they could otherwise afford on their own. As studies of families on waiting lists for childcare assistance have shown before, families without access to subsidies are often left with low-quality or unsafe options for their children’s care. Research also shows that subsidies increase the likelihood of stable employment and increased earnings. For the families that get help, their subsidy is a lifeline. It makes a difference as to whether they are able to go to work each day and it makes a difference for the quality of their children’s care. We should be mindful that the availability of subsidies is a critical component in these difficult economic times to ensure are most vulnerable families maintain employment and can provide for their children.

Pauline McKee is the executive director of the Randolph County Partnership for Children, the community’s lead organization for young children and families. The Partnership is a United Way agency. For more information, visit www.randolphkids.org.