Archive for Friday, April 6, 2001

Day care assistance promoted

April 6, 2001

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If you're a single parent with two children and earning less than $2,182 a month, there's a good chance the state Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services will help pay a big part of your day-care bill.

"There's money in the budget, there's not a waiting list, and the application process is really fairly simple," said Penny Schau, economic and employer services supervisor at the SRS office in Lawrence.

The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services is
pushing a program that can help low-income parents who remain in
the work force pay for day-care expenses. Thursday, 8-month-old
Emma Pravecek stretches her face with a yawn at the Children's
Learning Center, 205 N. Mich.

The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services is pushing a program that can help low-income parents who remain in the work force pay for day-care expenses. Thursday, 8-month-old Emma Pravecek stretches her face with a yawn at the Children's Learning Center, 205 N. Mich.

Under the program, a single parent with two children who makes less than $2,182 a month would be expected to pay the day-care provider $243 a month. SRS would pay the rest.

Payments are on a sliding scale.

For example, a single parent of two making less than $1,298 monthly would be expected to pay $58 a month in child care. The state would pay the balance.

"We'd really need to get the word out on this," Schau said.

Schau, one of three featured speakers Thursday at a Lawrence Public Library-sponsored forum on child-care issues, asked day-care providers to help her spread the word.

"When you consider that the average day-care bill is about $400 a month, the assistance we're offering can really have an impact on people being able to pay their bills," Schau said.

The child care assistance program is meant to help low-income parents remain in the work force and off welfare.

To be eligible, the child in day care must be a U.S. citizen, have a Social Security number, and be 13 or younger. The parent must be employed and willing to cooperate with child-support enforcement workers.

More information is available by calling the Lawrence SRS office, 832-3700. Ask for a child-care assistance worker.

Other topics discussed at the forum:

l Courtney Romine, a child-care licensing surveyor with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, encouraged parents looking for a day-care provider to narrow their choices to three and then call KDHE's Topeka office, (785) 296-1270, where a worker will share the results of each provider's latest inspection.

"These are public records, you have every right to see them," she said.

l Romine encouraged parents to call her office 843-3060 at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, if they're bothered by conditions at their day-care provider's.

"You don't have to give your name," she said.

l The Douglas County Child Development Assn. operates a free, child-care referral service that matches parents with services at 170 day-care providers in Douglas County.

Currently, Douglas County has about 300 licensed day-care providers. Of these, 170 exchange information with the child development association.

In the past three months, the association's referral service has logged 247 calls. Thirty-eight percent of the calls were from parents seeking day care for infants less than a year old.

To use the referral service, call 842-9679.

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