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Sequester Cuts Would Impact Some Child Care Costs

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Steve Pickett
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Automatic cuts in federal spending of $1.2 trillion over a ten year period is the overall view of what sequestration looks like.  But those possible cuts are tied to hundreds of programs, agencies and entities that provide a variety of services.

In Dallas, Byron Smith drops his 5-year-old son Santana at the M.L. King ChildCare Group Head Start program, before he heads to his job at Baylor Medical Center Dallas.  Santana is part of an early childhood education initiative for working families earning low income salaries.

The executives who oversee the childcare program, along with a wide-ranging daycare assistance program for 11,000 Dallas area children, are warily watching lawmakers in Washington.  The ChildCare Group receives $52.5 million to finance childcare assistance for working poor families.

If Congress can’t agree on designated spending reductions, the ChildCare Group anticipates a $2.1 million funding reduction.  “2,600 children would be affected,” ChildCare Group CEO Victoria Mannes said today.  “We won’t be able to add any of these children. These are children with parents trying to pursue an education, or job training, or trying to go to work,” Mannes said.

Currently 3,500 children are on childcare assistance waiting lists, according to Mannes.  She believes that number will increase if sequester cuts take effect.  And a leader with the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas agrees.  “We see a ripple effect,” Susan Hoff said Tuesday.

Hoff is Chief Strategy Officer for the United Way.  “A family loses child care support means a mom or dad can’t get to work now, and may lose their job,” she said.

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