|Tuesday, December 12, 2000 |
Tommy G. Thompson
News Media Contact
Contact: Ed Kamin (Kenosha County) 262-697-4664
HIGH MARKS FOR THE STATE’S CHILD CARE SUBSIDY
PROGRAM IN KENOSHA COUNTY
MADISON – Department of Workforce Development Secretary Jennifer Reinert announced today Wisconsin’s Child Care Subsidy program has received high marks from parents and child care providers, in a recent survey conducted in Kenosha County.
The study shows high satisfaction among parents and child care providers in the way the program has been implemented, the availability and quality of the child care that is being provided, and it shows a significant increase in the number of families participating in the program, among other things.
"There is no better testimonial than what comes directly from Wisconsin’s parents and child care providers, as to how the program is working. The survey shows high levels of parent and provider satisfaction with child care services under the subsidy program created by Governor Thompson during the implementation of W-2, and we couldn’t be more pleased," said Secretary Reinert.
"Our hope has always been that as families make the transition into the world of work that they have immediate access to safe and affordable child care. Our experience has shown that supportive services, such as child care, not only help low-income working families gain employment but sustain it and positively contribute toward their quality of life," said Ed Kamin, Coordinator of the Kenosha County Economic Support Program.
The first study on the child care subsidy program occurred in 1996, following the implementation of the Wisconsin Works, or W-2 program. At that time, the investment in child care subsidies increased from $53 million to $155 million, to ensure low-income working parents and those making the transition from welfare to work would have quality, affordable care for their children. Today the investment is more than $201 million.
The results that follow are based on 1999 data as a comparison. Some of the highlights include:
- The number of families receiving child care subsidies in Kenosha County more than doubled from 244 families in October of 1996 to 514 families in October 1999.
- In 1999, 97 percent of parents reported being very or fairly satisfied with their current child care arrangements and only 3 percent were fairly dissatisfied. That compares to 88 percent of parents being very or fairly satisfied in 1996, and 11 percent being fairly or very dissatisfied.
- In 1999, 87 percent of parents rated their provider as very stable and reliable, 83 percent said the facility was safe and clean, and 82 percent said their provider cares very much for their children. The responses in 1996 were almost identical. Furthermore, 64 percent of parents indicated they would not change their current child care arrangements if they could have any type of arrangement that they wanted.
- 67 percent of parents said it was very or fairly easy to find child care in Kenosha County, while 33 percent found it fairly or very difficult.
- 54 percent of parents had used Kenosha’s Child Care Resource and Referral service for help in finding child care, 72 percent found the service very or fairly helpful.
- 96 percent of child care providers indicated that collecting the state portion of the child care payment for subsidized care was very or fairly easy, which compares to 76 percent in 1996. (In 1997 payments to child care providers were transferred to a statewide automated system, making the process more efficient)
- 88 percent of child care providers reported being very or fairly satisfied with the level of pay they receive for providing child care.
- 40 percent of providers indicated they were more likely to accept a new child with subsidized state funding, compared to 25 percent in 1996. The percent of providers who were less likely to accept a child with subsidized funding dropped from 32 percent in 1996, to 15 percent in 1999.
- 74 percent of providers reported parent co-payments were very easy or fairly easy to collect, but 72 percent of parents with co-pays reported different degrees of difficulty in making the monthly payments.
- Child care provider satisfaction with changes to policies and procedures for the subsidy program, as a result of W-2, was very high in 1999.
- 99 percent felt changes in authorization procedures were either much or somewhat better than previous procedures.
- 100 percent indicated the new procedures for attendance reporting were much or somewhat better.
- 100 percent felt the child care payment procedures were much or somewhat better than the way they were administered before 1997.
"This study clearly shows the investments in child care have paid off greatly for families and providers in Kenosha County. The results confirm this is an investment well spent, especially when you consider many of the parents utilizing the child care subsidies are away from their children and building their careers for the very first time. It also speaks volumes to the quality service Kenosha county child care staff are providing, and the fine work of DWD staff in the development of the program," said Reinert.
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