Pennsylvania Makes It Easier for Working Families to Access Quality Child Care
January 05, 2016
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf announced today that Pennsylvania is one of the first states in the country to implement a change in its Child Care Works program to help families who experience a temporary disruption in employment continue to access quality child care. Through this change, working families will now re-determine their program eligibility every 12 months instead of the current six-month eligibility period.
“It is critical that we improve access to child care for all Pennsylvanians,” said Governor Wolf. “My administration remains committed to protecting Pennsylvania’s children, and making it easier for working families to access care is an important step toward achieving this goal.”
“This change means that Pennsylvania families that experience a temporary job loss, are seasonally employed, or fall victim to an extended illness can count on child care that will help them continue to provide for their children,” said Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas. “Quality child care is not only a vital early learning tool for children, it is also a critical component of making sure that working families can seek and obtain good family-sustaining jobs. “
The state and federally-funded Child Care Works program allows eligible families to receive financial assistance for child care while they work or attend job training. Currently, low-income families are subject to a system that requires them to report financial changes every six months. As a result, families that experience a temporary loss of employment can lose child care at the exact moment they need it most. Extending this six-month period to twelve months makes it less likely that a temporary loss of employment will also mean a loss in child care.
“This change positively impacts the quality of a child’s early education experience,” said Pennsylvania Department of Education Secretary Pedro Rivera. “When young children experience a disruption in care, such as a new teacher or caregiver, it affects their development. Consistency of care promotes the healthy development of children.”
The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCBDG) is one of the primary federal funding sources for monitoring regulated child care programs, child care subsidy through Child Care Works, and child care quality improvement through Keystone STARS. The grant was reauthorized in November 2014 for the first time in nearly 20 years.
To initially qualify for Child Care Works, families can earn up to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines, such as a family of four earning up to $48,500. Families pay a co-pay to the child care program or caregiver.
Families can learn more about the Child Care Works program by visiting www.dhs.pa.gov or by calling their local Child Care Information Services (CCIS) office.
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