The Cabarrus County Department of Social Services, dealing with a double financial hit, has placed 61 families on a waiting list for a child care subsidy.
More families are enrolled for the subsidy than can be sustained financially through the end of June, when the county's fiscal year ends. And the state and federal governments plan to allocate 5percent less money for care in the county in the year ahead.
"A waiting list is not what we desire for the children in need of care within our community," DSS Director Ben Rose said in announcing the waiting list. But DSS has no choice, he said.
The DSS staff is "aggressively" reviewing cases to identify families who are no longer eligible for the child care subsidy and have not reported changes such as job status or additional income, Rose said.
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The department expects the quarterly review to result in most of the subsidy terminations needed to reduce monthly spending, he said.
The state and federal governments, meanwhile, are reducing the county's total child care subsidy in the fiscal year that begins July 1 from about $5.92million to $5.6million.
The state is cutting $242,408, from about $1.3million to about $1.1million. That number is subject to change as the N.C. General Assembly continues to deliberate program reductions, Cabarrus County spokeswoman Aimee Hawkins said.
DSS will keep its waiting list until the number of children in care, along with the monthly costs for care, is lower than the spending allocation, Rose said.
The goal is to avoid forcing children from care whose parents need the subsidy, he said: "That could result in costing them their jobs, and that certainly is not the goal."
The department continues to accept signups for the waiting list. Parents or caregivers interested in child care subsidies should call 704-920-1400 or visit DSS at 1303 S. Cannon Blvd., Kannapolis, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays. A child care worker will gather information needed, including the basis of the need.