Education Spotlight: Merced County offering child care voucher program

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In ABC30's segment, Education Spotlight, Action News Anchor Landon Burke will talk with Merced County Office of Education (MCOE) officials about some of the biggest topics in education.

In the North Valley, Merced County is offering new levels of support for families.

Landon Burke learned about the county's childcare voucher program and how parents can make the most of it.

Landon: What can you tell me about this voucher program? Who's it for, and what does it do?

Monica Sevilla: The voucher program is a childcare subsidy program that helps our families and our community get assistance to help pay for their child care services. Families who actually qualify are families who have children from zero, or newborn up to age 13 And who have an income that is less than the 85% state medium, that's kind of in laymen terms if a good way to look at it as a family size of four, they can earn up to $7,069 a month in order to qualify.

Landon: So why is it important that a program like this exists nowadays?

Monica: I think the importance of the program is that it allows families or parents to be able to go to work or go to school, anything to become self-sufficient and to help their families, but we know as parents, we're not good at those things if we don't think that our children are safe. And so childcare allows families to do work and school well while having their children in a safe, nurturing environment.

Lurdes Parra: We work really hard to have high-quality childcare, which is great for the early years, you want them socializing learning all the skills needed before entering the school system.

Landon: So how much assistance can families expect from this program?

Monica: Families can expect to get help paying for childcare, it is a subsidy, and there are times that families will have a share of cost. It is based on their income. However, because childcare is so expensive, this is usually a great help to them. When they do visit the website and fill out the actual application, the website will give them an estimate of the amount of support that they can expect as a share of costs. This program is definitely a benefit to the community of Merced County. It really helps families get back on their feet and allow them to really become successful and kind of pave the way in terms of setting up educational and nurturing environments for their children. The other thing is, families need to keep in mind that we actually can subsidize multiple types of childcare providers. We can use licensed family childcare homes, like Lurdes, we can use private childcare centers and even family friends and neighbors. So there's a wide variety that the subsidy can pay for, and it makes those parents really comfortable and having a choice of where their children are going to attend.
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