Freeze on state’s child care subsidy program partly lifted -- Gazette.Net







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Some of the Montgomery County families waiting to receive assistance for child care will see relief in November.

The state is partly lifting a freeze on its Child Care Subsidy Program, said Bill Reinhard, spokesman for the Maryland State Department of Education.

The program provides a stipend to working families to pay for at least a part of the cost of day care, or before- or after-school care, for infants through children 13 years old.

The action will mean the families of 600 more children across the state will receive subsidies. In fiscal 2011, the program served about 25,000 children, according to the education department. In Montgomery, the list has 2,358 children in 1,357 families, said Felicia Turner, administrator for Montgomery County’s child care subsidy program.

The freeze has been in effect since February 2011, when funding was cut statewide. It will be lifted Nov. 19, according to a press release from the state education department.

Overall, the subsidy program serves working families who fall under a certain income level; to qualify, a family of two, for example on child and one adult, must make an annual gross income of $24,277 or less; for a family of four, $35,702 or less.

The freeze is being lifted only for families who fall within the three lowest income brackets, Turner said. A family of two must make an annual gross income of $12,222 or less; for a family of four, $15,098 or less.

Statewide, 14,000 families are on the list, Reinhard said.

The county also lifted a freeze on its own child care subsidy program this year, Turner said; there was a freeze on the Working Parents Assistance Program from July 2011 until about a month ago.

Based on a request from the Montgomery County Council, the County Executive added $500,000 to the county’s fiscal 2013 budget so that the freeze could be lifted.

About 1,230 children are being served by the state’s subsidy program and 287 children are being served by the county’s program, Turner said.