Working Connections Child Care eligibility changes to take effect Oct. 1

Eligibility for the Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) subsidy program will be reduced to 175 percent of the Federal Poverty Level effective Oct. 1. This program helps low-income families pay for child care while adults work, look for work or attend training.

The new level (a monthly income of less than $2,670 for a family of three) is reduced from 200 percent of the poverty level and is expected to affect about 2,500 families using the program.

"These are real parents and kids who depend on this program to provide safe places for their children during the workday," DEL Director Bette Hyde said. "The Governor made a very tough decision in order to balance the budget and still protect the most vulnerable families."

The change is part of $51 million in cuts to the WorkFirst program for the rest of state fiscal year 2011. WorkFirst is our state’s “welfare to work” program, which helps low-income families become self-sufficient through training and support services. Gov. Chris Gregoire announced the cuts in August, as a result of increased WorkFirst demand and decreased state resources. Cuts to WCCC are expected to save about $16.8 million.

Families will not immediately lose benefits but will be reevaluated against the new level when the time comes to renew. Eligibility for the Seasonal Child Care (SCC) program also will be reduced to 175 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.

Click here for more information and for ways to give input on these changes.

Families who are looking for child care can contact their local Child Care Resource & Referral agency. There are also resources for children cared for by family, friends or neighbors.