Missouri gets jump in child-care subsidy rates
Thursday, October 12, 2023
An increase in child-care subsidy reimbursement rates up to 58% of market rate is being hailed as a big win for providers in Missouri.
Sarah Gould is the early-childhood director for Community Support Services of Missouri, which primarily cares for children with special needs in Jasper County.
She said the rate increase, which was signed in June by Gov. Mike Parson, helps families be able to afford child care.
"There's more stability for them," said Gould, "and they're able to use those resources that they would have put in child care to pay for additional utility costs or food costs, because we know those have all gone up in the last several years."
American Rescue Plan stabilization funds and some emergency aid through Congress for early-childhood education expired at the start of October, and Missouri child-care providers are looking for long-term solutions.
Missouri often is referred to as a state with many child-care deserts, and any loss of subsidies can be straining.
Casey Hanson, director of outreach and engagement for Kids Win Missouri, said it's important to come up with permanent solutions.
"So there's a little bit more relief money that will get pumped into the system," said Hanson, "but a lot of those opportunities that providers have used to keep their doors open over the last couple of years are going away. And that's why we're so focused on making sure that as a state, we're making investments that are more sustainable."
Hanson said it's important for families and parents to talk to elected officials and leaders about the needs for reliable, safe child care and also for child-care providers to be vocal about the impact of rate increases and how it helps their organizations.
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