The tough economy has forced area governments to make cuts all across the board. The latest to take a hit in our area is child care spending. Social Services of Oneida County says they have to close the cases of those above the 100% poverty level in this county. That's over 400 families that will no longer get the money they need for child care. Oneida County Social Services says the state and federal funding it gets for subsidized low income childcare has decreased over the years, and the families who need the subsidies has increased. The program is set to be cut by the end of the month.
"It's probably the type of childcare we're most encouraged by because it's the one where you see the people really getting out of the cycle of poverty," says Jane Domingue of the Thea Bowman House, "They're no longer on the public assistance rolls."
Domingue says the cuts could force people back on public assistance, if they need to give up work to take care of their children. "Parents are going to have to make a choice between giving up work or childcare that is maybe unreliable or unsafe," she says."
Sandra Soroka of the neighborhood center stresses how vital quality child care is. "They learn better, enter Kindergarten more prepared, they see less hostility." But with high costs of child care, she doesn't know how some families will keep afloat. "We have a mom who has three children and currently she is receiving a subsidy and without that subsidy she's looking at an $18,000/year in child care bills and she's already only making right above the poverty level."
A public forum is set to be held December 13th and 5:30 to let public lawmaker know how serious of situation this really is. The plan is to let families express their situations to area officials with hope to get support in receiving funding.