Child Care Subsidies in Monroe County

The Center for Governmental Research's report on child care subsidies in Monroe County.
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  Child Care Subsidies in Monroe County An Analysis of Need, Availability and Trends November, 2014   1 South Washington Street, Suite 400, Rochester, New York 14614 (585) 325-6360 ã  Promising Solutions Government & Education | Economics & Public Finance | Health & Human Services | Nonprofits & Communities Child Care Subsidies in Monroe County An Analysis of Need, Availability and Trends November, 2014 Prepared for: Greater Rochester League of Women Voters Prepared by: Erika Rosenberg Project Director © CGR Inc. 2014 – All Rights Reserved  i   Summary Child care is an enormous expense for families with working parents, especially those with young children not yet in school and low incomes. For example, according to New York State, a family needing full-time care for an infant under 18 months that selects a day care center can expect to pay $246 a week, or nearly $12,800 a year. 1  That comes close to consuming the entire paycheck of a minimum-wage worker, who will earn (before taxes) $16,640 in a year. The child care subsidy program operated by counties in New York State aims to ease that burden, helping to keep parents in the workforce and provide access to high-quality care for their children. Yet in most parts of New York State, subsidies have become less available over the past several years. From 2007 to 2013, the number of subsidies dropped in 38 of New York’s 57 counties outside New York City, with an average decline of 27%. CGR and the Greater Rochester League of Women Voters chose child care subsidies as the focus of our research effort in 2014, funded out of the Beatrice Bibby Endowment. This study examines availability, need, funding and policies related to child care subsidies in Monroe County, similar counties and in New York State as a whole. Key findings include:    In Monroe County, the number of subsidies provided decreased by 17% from 2007 to 2013.    Monroe County served 22% of potentially eligible children in 2013, compared to 20% statewide, and higher than similar counties (Erie and Onondaga).    Adjusted for inflation, funding for subsidies has declined since 2007. Federal and state funding declined 2% and local funding 5%.    The need for subsidies in Monroe County is largest in the City of Rochester but growing fastest in some suburbs. The number of children potentially eligible grew 52% in Irondequoit, 31% in Henrietta and 17% in Greece from 2000 to 2008-12.    Statewide, the subsidy program lacks consistency and the ability to analyze and monitor trends and need. Among local areas we studied, the share of eligible children receiving subsidies ranged from 6% to 25%, and federal and state funding per eligible child varied from less than $350 to nearly $2,000. 1   See New York’s study of child care market rates, used to determine subsidy levels:   ii      Serving all eligible families would be very expensive, but targeting low-income families with children of particular ages may be more feasible. National research has shown that only 50% of those eligible for subsidies are likely to apply for assistance, potentially making it possible to make progress closing the gap between need and availability of subsidies.
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