8% was the expected reimbursement cut for child care programs.
4% is what the cuts could be reduced by with federal funds approved by Congress.
" We receive a lot of 3- and 5-percent cuts from various programs. When you keep getting cuts every six months, there’s a point where it really begins to affect whether you’ll be able to maintain the quality of services."—Rex Davidson, executive director of Las Cumbres Community Services
On Sept. 29, child care providers received their first hint of good news after suffering a long bout of budget cuts: $2.4 million in stimulus funds would be used to offset the $13 million slashed from child care budgets in the fiscal year 2011 budget. On Oct. 28, good tidings came again: Gov. Bill Richardson announced that the state could receive $8.7 million in federal money to further cover the cuts.
“Could” is the operative word: Congress passed—and the president signed—a continuing appropriations act to continue funding for certain programs, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, through Dec. 3.
According to Marissa Padilla, spokeswoman for US Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM, in order for New Mexico to receive money from the TANF Contingency Fund, it needs to meet a variety of statewide criteria—which include certain unemployment rates and food stamp use—set to determine economic need.
If approved, the extra money will come in handy for many of the state’s child care providers. According to Human Services Department spokeswoman Betina Gonzales McCracken, TANF block grants have been a major source of funding for these programs—but money has been tight.
As such, organizations such as preschool Garcia Street Club have lost some reimbursements for families that can’t afford the full $995-per-month tuition. This forces families to either pay more or be turned away.
According to Children, Youth and Families Department spokeswoman Romaine Serna, additional federal funding would also offset limits announced in September that curtail TANF funds for families with incomes more than 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.
Garcia Street Club Assistant Director Annie Oxenhandler hadn’t heard about additional funding before SFR contacted her, but was quick to note: “Great, we’ll take it. We can use it.”