As child care costs increase, so does the demand for assistance in our area especially during the summer.
Child care services are seeing more panhandle families in need of assistance. Amarillo's YMCA says there's about a 30% increase in the number of children receiving financial aid from previous years to now.
Its program director Joanna Conway says, "We've seen an increase in the need for child care for summer because so many parents are having to work through summer, and put in more hours. So when they used to be able to take vacations to spend time with their family, they're having to work now. "
Panhandle Workforce Solutions says they're helping more than 2,000 children every day so their parents can work or go to school. Its program manager Frances Garcia says, "We help families who are working and going to school. Or a combination of both. And if they are eligible for our program, we would help to subsidize that payment for them. They would have a co-pay, and then our services would reimburse the day care center the rest of the amount."
And the cost for this service is getting more expensive. Right now, there's an average price of about $115 per week for each child at the YMCA.
Conway says, "Child care costs is increasing every year because of the economy. Everything costs more. Gas costs more for transportation, we have to pay more for salaries, food costs more."
Panhandle Workforce Solutions says there's still funding available to help about 300 more area children. For more information, you may call them at (806) 345-1348 or visit its web page at www.wspanhandle.com .
And if you don't qualify for its child care assistance program, the YMCA says they're offering scholarships.