ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — For the nearly 2,500 families in Monroe County that receive some form of childcare assistance, we have some good news for you.
Monday, changes were announced to enhance the county’s child care subsidy program. Some are already in effect, and some will take effect almost immediately. There are four, to be exact, that County Executive Adam Bello says will make child care more accessible and affordable for residents while also helping providers survive the pandemic.
“Right here in New York State, the annual cost of care for an infant can be more than annual cost to attend college at one of the state universities,” Bello said.
That sobering reality for some families here in Monroe County is what prompted the county to make a number of changes.
“Today’s changes include the lowest parent fee for childcare allowable under state law – 1%; easier and expedited access to the certificate of eligibility for subsidized health care; One full year of guaranteed health care once a family qualifies for [our] program; and up to 80 paid absences for childcare providers,” Bello explained. “Child care must be a priority for our entire community because if we are going to recover from a pandemic, all of our working parents must be able to find and keep good-paying jobs or undergo the training they need to pursue work in a path to prosperity and stability.”
Officials say this is necessary especially given today’s economic environment.
“Parents spend an average of almost $9,000 a year in childcare – that’s almost $750 a month,” said Larry Marx, chief executive officer of The Children’s Agenda. “Parents can’t work when they don’t have childcare.”
Child care providers and parents alike are applauding the subsidy program enhancements, calling this a game-changer.
“When I learned that we were going to be able to allow families not to lose their spot [in daycare] and we didn’t have to give it to somebody who pays us privately, I was ecstatic. I was so emotional,” said Bridget Shumway, president of the Generation’s Child and Elder Care.
“Being a single mom and having only one income in the household, trying to pay childcare as well as other bills was a struggle,” said Kizzie Ware, a parent of a 5 and 9-year-old.
Ware is a pre-kindergarten teacher and is also pursuing further education.
“It’s going to benefit my family tremendously. Now knowing all the things that go into being in place and some of the things that are already in place… it gives you that extra peace of mind, Ware said.
Eligibility is based on income level. Residents interested in applying for the childcare subsidy program or wanting to learn more about the changes can click here or call the county at 585-753-6960.
The Children’s Agenda advocates for effective policies and drives evidenced-based solutions for the health, education and success of children. We are especially committed to children who are vulnerable because of poverty, racism, health inequities and trauma.