Program will offer child-care subsidies

People struggling to get on their feet and back to work may be able to get a little help from Carson City welfare services this year.

Using a little money saved from a federal grant, the city will be able to subsidize qualifying parents who find child care too expensive compared to their income.

"I get a lot of people in here who aren't eligible for other programs," said city health assistant Kathy Wolfe. "They're kind of caught in the middle. With the amount of their hourly rate compared to what they pay for day care - it's almost to the point where it's not worth them working."

The city's health department plans to launch its first child-care, subsidy program by the end of the month. So far, the department was able to find $7,000, but it could grow, Wolfe said.

"If I see it's really booming, I can adjust the budget and put more in that line item," Wolfe said.

Nevada families pay an estimated 25 percent or more of their gross income for child care, according to the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

According to a report by the university, the average cost to provide child care for a 4-year-old in Carson City in 2000 was $4,550 a year, which was slightly higher than the $4,420 average in Reno.

Wolfe said she modeled the program after a subsidy program in Douglas County. She said she plans to meet with child-care centers first to see who will be willing to work with the city.

The federal grant money that will be used pays for school supplies, clothes and utility subsidies.

Parents will need to apply for the program through the city and meet federal poverty guidelines.

Contact Jill Lufrano at or 881-1217.


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