Needed: Quality child care | Local News

ANDERSON — Getting a new job is supposed to be cause for praise.

But for many low-income families with young children in Madison County, parents face the choice between a minimum wage job and making sure their children are in capable hands.

Stephani Fertucci, director of the Madison County Children’s Bureau, said she often works with young mothers who are struggling to find affordable, competent child care.

“It’s exciting when they get a job but then it’s like: ‘How do we make sure these kids are safe?’” Fertucci said. “The need I see is, once we can get them minimum-wage employment, then they can’t afford to have child care at a licensed child care center.”

Nearly one in three young children lives in poverty in Madison County, well above the state average of 26 percent, according to the 2017 Indiana Early Learning Advisory Committee annual report.

Couple that with an average annual cost of childcare for children aged infant to 5 at $7,237 and it’s easy to see why 76 percent of preschool children aren’t in high-quality child care centers.

State vouchers

When Jerry Alexander, pastor at Anderson Central Wesleyan Church, saw the need for many of his congregation’s low-income families, he knew he had to do something to help his community.

“There are people who can’t get out of their economically stressful situation because they can’t afford child care,” he said.

Alexander was approached by state officials to open up a child care facility catering to low-income residents who could use Child Care Development Fund vouchers to help mitigate some of the cost.

In order to qualify for CCDF vouchers, families must work with an intake agent to determine the level of need and help find a qualified childcare provider.

When Honey Bees Child Development, 2406 Delaware St., Anderson, opens next month, Alexander said he…

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