COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
Child Care Subsidy Advocacy
Social Service Advisory Board advocacy for child care subsidies
Messrs. Tucker, Elliott and Davis; Ms. Ralston
LEGAL REVIEW: Yes
May 9, 2007
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
In FY 2007, the Virginia Department of Social Services reduced funding to localities for child care subsidies for low income working families. Specifically, an 85 percent reduction was experienced in the level of federal funding for this region’s long-term collaborative child care program operated jointly by the Thomas Jefferson-United Way, the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County. In FY 2008, it is expected that federal support for this child care subsidy program will be eliminated all-together. This action is being taken to redirect funding to the expanded population in the VIEW (Virginia Initiative for Employment Not Welfare) program mandated in the federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2006. While other funding is available to support child care subsidies for low income working families, the lack of federal funding for this vital program has resulted in the need for the Department to establish a waiting list for this service for the first time in seven years.
During a retreat in December, the Advisory Board identified several issues that are important to it and recently decided to focus on “increasing the number of children and families helped with child care subsidies” as a priority focus for this year. This includes working to raise awareness of the need, creating scholarships, educating businesses about the benefits of on-site child care and promoting high quality child care services.
Goal 1: Enhance the Quality of Life for All Albemarle County Residents
Objective 1.3 Increase the ability of those individuals and families, who are living in lower income households, to become self-sufficient.
The Advisory Board is established under Sections 63.2-302 and 63.2-305 of the Virginia Code and has as its duties:
To accomplish these duties, the Advisory Board developed more specific roles aligned with the Code:
The Advisory Board proposes implementing a plan to accomplish their goal of increasing the number of children and families assisted with child care subsidies that includes 1) creating a fact sheet about the need for child care assistance, 2) establishing partnerships with the United Way, the Chamber of Commerce and the Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development for a coordinated approach to advocacy, and 3) meeting with area business leaders, local legislators and the Governor to advocate for increased state funds to help low income working families with child care expenses. In concert with this specific plan, the Department has recently learned that a statewide organization is building a coalition to support an increase in child care subsidies to localities. The Advisory Board may desire to join this coalition and work to support their efforts with the Board’s approval.
Child Care subsidy programs have traditionally required a local match ranging from 0 – 10 percent for federal/state funds allocated for this purpose. Should the General Assembly allocate additional funds for this program, it will likely require local matching funds of at least 10 percent. Since this is not a mandated program, local governments are not required to provide matching funds; instead they may opt to return unmatched state funds.
Staff recommends that the Board authorize the Advisory Board to advocate for legislation or budget language that supports increased state funding for child care subsidies for low income working families.
Return to regular agenda