Oct 282002
Authors: Adrienne Hoenig

The Colorado Child Care Assistance Program is cutting its budget in Larimer County.

The need for childcare assistance has risen significantly in the last year, said Doreen Scott, CCCAP’s division manager for developing independency.

The number of students receiving assistance has increased the most, at 49 percent. Low-income families have risen 18 percent and families in need of temporary assistance have climbed 27 percent.

CCCAP is designed to help these needy families pay for the costs of childcare. Kathryn Hammerback, executive director of the Colorado Child Care Association, estimated that a family with one child would spend about $500 a month on childcare.

“Childcare is becoming very expensive and unaffordable for a lot of working-class families,” Hammerback said.

CCCAP savings with new budget cuts are projected at about $1.2 million. More than 450 children will lose childcare funding because of budget cuts.

Ethan Campbell is one of these children.

Ethan Campbell will turn two at the end of November. Both of his parents are students at CSU. His mother, Emily Campbell, 26, is worried that she and her husband may not be able to finish school because of CCCAP’s budget cuts.

“There’s going to be a lot of people that are probably going to end up dropping out because of this,” she said.

Campbell, a senior history education major, received a letter in mid-September that told of the new cuts.

“The letter I got pretty much said that if you don’t fall under these guidelines, that’s too bad.”

Campbell currently pays six dollars a month for her son to go to Children’s World for day care. CCCAP covers the rest of the costs, but only until the end of this year.

The CCCAP budget cuts took all students out of the program, with the exception of teenage mothers, and reduced the amount of paid sick days day care providers can take from five to three.

It also lowered eligibility for the program to 140 percent above the poverty line. CCCAP previously gave families up to 185 percent above the poverty line eligibility, which allowed for a family of three to earn a $13.36 hourly rate and still receive CCCAP funding. The new cut allows only up to $10.11 hourly pay for a family of three.

“It’s terrible to have to cut these programs,” Scott said. The cuts went into effect on Oct. 1. Families that are already enrolled but are no longer eligible will have until Dec. 31 before assistance is discontinued.

Unfortunately, Scott said, CCCAP doesn’t have much control over budget cuts. Money is allocated by federal and state governments and then sent to budget committees. It is up to these committees to decide where the money goes.

“There are so many other crises going on, you’re not getting money into childcare,” she said.

Julie Shaffer, co-chairperson for the Larimer County Early Childhood Council, said the cuts are “nobody’s fault.”

“It’s coming down to they’re simply out of money,” Shaffer said.

Larimer County is not the first to receive these cuts. Jefferson, Denver, Arapahoe and Summit Counties are among those hit by the cuts.

Sharon Archer, director of government relations for Children’s World, is very concerned about CCCAP’s new budget cuts.

“It’s really heartbreaking,” she said. “The ramifications are mind-boggling, to say the least.”

-Edited by Shandra Jordan, Colleen Buhrer and Becky Waddingham

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