AP NEWS

Child care advocates create fund to help Lincoln families

February 1, 2019 GMT

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Child care advocates in Lincoln have created a fund to help more families access quality child care by filling the gap that state subsidies don’t cover.

The Lincoln Littles Early Childcare Fund provides local families tuition help for qualifying child care providers in the city, The Lincoln Journal Star reported. Such providers include nonprofits, home-based child care businesses and child care centers.

Child care costs for infants and toddlers average about $1,000 a month, said Michelle Suarez, who heads the early childhood education arm of Prosper Lincoln, an initiative of the Lincoln Community Foundation.

Families that make $25,750 are eligible for state subsidies that cover all child care costs, while families that make $32,628 a year can receive partial support. The new fund seeks to help families that make up to $51,000 a year but don’t qualify for subsidies.

“Childhood really sets the tone for one’s life,” Suarez said. “Research tells us all future behavior and health starts in childhood. We want children to have opportunities to build those foundations for future growth.”

Betty Medinger, senior vice president for the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, said the program aims to fill gaps.

“Nationally, our state has a pretty low threshold for families,” Medinger said. “So we are pretty well restricted to the poorest of the poor for child care subsidies. This helps working families with a little assistance for a little longer.”

The project is a partnership between the Lincoln foundation and the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation. The Buffett Early Childhood Fund and the Kellogg Foundation have also given the fund $750,000 in seed money.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com