CHARLESTON (AP) - Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said Tuesday that he's delaying proposed changes to child-care aid requirements that could have ended aid for an estimated 1,425 children.
Changes proposed in June would have meant families at or above 150 percent of the federal poverty level would have lost payments from a program that helps their parents afford day care and other settings outside the home. The program served more than 24,000 children during the past budget year, at a cost of $54 million, according to figures provided by the state Department of Health and Human Resources.
Those changes to the program were in an effort to make up for shortfalls in federal funding. But the governor's office said the proposed changes will go under further review and that Tomblin plans to submit a budget amendment to close gaps in the program through spring.
"After much discussion with parents and folks in the childcare industry, I decided it's not in the best interest of West Virginia families to move forward with the scheduled changes to our state's childcare subsidy," Tomblin said in a news release. "We still have work to do; these programs are not sustainable with our current level of funding, but at this point, I believe it's best to keep hard-working families in the program and to look for other ways to address the budget shortfalls."
The child-care aid program is supposed to help poor parents keep their jobs or find work including by attending school. Under the proposal, a family of four would have lost aid, for example, if its annual income exceeded about $33,500.
Changes to copayments for families enrolled in the program went into effect on Aug. 1, officials said.