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DHS finds money to avoid cutbacks on child-care help to low-income parents

BY NOLAN CLAY Staff Writer nclay@opubco.com Published: October 27, 2011
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DHS will not be cutting back after all on the child-care help it provides low-income families.

The Department of Human Services each year helps thousands of low-income parents go to work or school by subsidizing day care for their children. Those in the program make co-pays.

Because of budget restraints, DHS commissioners voted in June to cut back on the subsidies. They voted to hike co-pays and reduce eligibility for the program to make up the difference.

But, on Tuesday, commissioners restored almost $7 million to the program. That made the co-pay hikes and eligibility changes unnecessary for now.

The co-pay hikes had not been implemented yet because of concerns public comment should have been sought before the June vote. The hikes would have ranged from $2 a month to $57 a month for families with one child.

Commissioners restored the money to the program from $10.5 million found elsewhere at the agency. DHS Director Howard Hendrick said DHS finance officials identified that money was available.

“That $10 million we would have found eventually, maybe in January or February or March or the spring,” Hendrick said.