The Center for Hunger-Free Communities

Solutions Based on Science and the Human Experience

Nobody at my college knew that I was in the shelter, and once people started finding out, they were like, oh my gosh, Tami, you’re in a shelter? Oh my gosh, you’re a mother? I’m the only parent in my program at Northeastern. Only parent. And they like, look at me differently ‘cause of that. Oh, you’re a mom? I didn’t know you have a kid. I have a son, not a kid. I hate that. You’re in a shelter? Oh my gosh, I feel so bad for you. Don’t feel bad for me. I’m doing really fine. You see me here, right? In college? Don’t feel bad. 

Child Care Assistance

Child care assistance is available for families receiving TANF, along with other low-income working families.  In Pennsylvania, Child Care Information Services (CCIS) helps parents find and pay for quality child care while they are receiving TANF and attending a job, getting an education.  Parents have the right to choose the type of care their children receive (i.e. child care center, pre-school, or private babysitter).  For income-eligible families not receiving TANF, CCIS maintains a waiting list.  When this system works efficiently, child care assistance allows parents of young children to work and support their families without their income being drained by the high cost of child care.

Before the recent economic recession, nearly 40% of Pennsylvania’s children ages 0-5 were low-income, yet less than 25% of these children received child care subsidies. Southeastern Pennsylvania families eligible for child care subsidies wait an average of 12 months on waiting lists before receiving subsidy.

Current Issue

The recent state budget disproportionately cut child care subsidies, reducing the budget by 11.5 percent.  Further efforts to raise co-payments and restrict working families’ eligibility for child care subsidies will have negative consequences for Pennsylvania’s children and economy.

 

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