CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) — Things could get easier for parents struggling to pay for child care in Mecklenburg County.
The county is investing $10.5 million in a new initiative to expand the North Carolina child care subsidy. The program will serve at least 700 children ranging from newborns to 12 years old.
The change just took effect this week and means families who previously made too much money to qualify can now qualify.
As many know, child care can be expensive for parents of all income levels, with some comparing it to the cost of a college education.
“It’s like comparing it to other big bills like your rent or your mortgage might be close to the same price as childcare,” parent Shaneque Mackins said.
Mecklenburg County officials say the average cost of child care can range from $800 to $1,500 per month per child.
“Child care can be as expensive as college, and some people have multiple children,” said Karen Jones, executive director of Nana’s Place Learning Center in Charlotte.
“It kinda hurts to say that, but that’s how it is, it’s like another major bill,” Mackins said.
This is where the county of Mecklenburg is located new program Between.
It extends the state’s child care subsidy program to households earning up to $65,880 a year for a family of three.
This helps eliminate the problem that many families face – earning too much to qualify for support – but not enough to realistically pay for childcare.
“You can earn a decent amount of money, but if you have a child or multiple children, most of your income goes towards your living and childcare expenses,” Mackins said.
She also thinks paying for childcare is harder for parents who can’t work from home.
“It’s kind of like you’re a rock in a tough place, you have to go to work, so your kids have to be taken care of, so it’s kind of like you have to,” she said. declared.
Jones said the new program is a major step for the county and for parents.
“I’ve actually sent it to all of our families, even those who haven’t necessarily applied for the grant before, but as the income cap has been raised, it may be beneficial for people,” he said. she declared.
Along with changing income requirements, the program reduces work hours and education requirements.
“The cost of living is going up and it’s affecting a lot of people,” Mackins said.
Nana’s Place said it was difficult to guarantee its staff members decent wages and prove that childcare was affordable, which is why it supports this program for parents.
“With everything going up, gas, groceries, I mean inflation taking us all, it will help somebody,” Jones said.
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