Delaware Public Media

Childcare benefits could go to the unemployed under new bill

Apr 10, 2017

Democrats are trying to extend childcare benefits to unemployed Delawareans under a new proposal in the General Assembly.

Currently, the program helps low-income working families or single parents pay for daycare through a federal grant that runs out next fall. Depending on each applicant's income, they share in the cost of daycare or another childcare program

“We want to ensure that single parents or working families who can’t afford child care have the ability to have their child in a daycare program that’s beneficial to the child, but also allows them to work,” said Rep. Sean Lynn (D-Dover), the bill’s chief sponsor.

Those who lose their jobs would still be eligible for help through the program for 90 days each year as long as they keep looking for a job.

The program is funded by a $17.2 million federal grant and only those with jobs qualify.

Lynn says suddenly dropping someone from programs like these makes it harder to help them get off government entitlement programs.

“It’s going to be more difficult for them to find jobs, it’s going to be more difficult for them to get back into the pool of employed Delaware residents. It’s an impediment to people kind of getting back on their feet.”

A 2015 state study shows costs for childcare range from $25 a day to more than $55 a day.

It’s not clear how many people would qualify for the program under the bill or how much it would cost.

But even if the bill doesn’t pass, the grant money is expected to run out before the fall of 2018 due to high demand.