Child-care subsidies being cut in Eagle County
EAGLE, Colorado – Eagle County is cutting back its child care assistance program just as more people are using it.
The program, funded with a combination of state, federal and local money, helps people pay for child care, based on their income.
Those income levels are based on “federal poverty guidelines.” From May of 2007 until Monday, qualifying families could earn no more than 250 percent of the federal poverty level. For 2008 that was roughly $35,000 per year for a household with a single, working parent and two minor children.
The Eagle County Commissioners Monday adjusted that income requirement to 150 percent of the federal poverty guideline, or $26,400 per year.
In addition, the county will cap at 40 the number of families that can participate in the program. There are 65 families in the program now, but those families won’t just be dropped.
According to Kathleen Lyons, the self-sufficiency manager in the Eagle County Department of Health and Human Services, federal rules require a six-month notice before a family can lose its child-care assistance.
Lyons said program participation has jumped this year, from about 45 families at the end of last year to 65 by the end of July. Without changes to the eligibility requirements, Lyons said the program’s payments to child care providers would exceed the $411,000 budget by more than $150,000.
Commissioner Peter Runyon told Lyons to keep a close eye on the budgets of this and other public assistance programs.
“We need to be more sensitive to rising floodwaters,” Runyon said. “They sooner we can adjust, the less the impact.”
Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.