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Child Care Assistance bill passes house

Published: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 9:50 a.m. CDT

Child Care Assistance (CCA) is a statewide subsidy program that helps pay for the care of a child while their parent works or goes to school. CCA is available to the children of eligible parents with income at or below 145 percent of the federal poverty level. The parent also has to be absent for a portion of the day due to work or school up to an average of 28 hours a week.

Eligibility for child care assistance occurs in six month periods. If income, employment, or academic conditions change at any point and the parent does not meet the CCA eligibility requirements, the parents are required to notify the DHS.

Currently, people can receive child care assistance if they go to school or work for 28 hours a week, but they cannot receive child care assistance if they both work and go to school for a combination of 28 hours per week. This is a challenge for many parents that would like to work while going to school so they can find better jobs. To help encourage this change, the House passed a bill that would change this requirement in four counties through a pilot program. In these counties, parents will be able to receive child care assistance if they go to work and school for an aggregate of 28 hours per week in fiscal year 2015.

The cost to implement a statewide shift in child care assistance is very hard to predict. Reliable information is important to correctly improve this program and prevent underfunding issues in the future. It is the intent of Rep. Heaton to pursue a statewide expansion of this initiative next session.

Please join me at one of my March legislative forums.

• Friday March 28

Noon. – Lakeside Casino in Osceola

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