UWNI expands child care assistance in area
| October 29, 2020 1:00 AM
Child care is critical infrastructure to the current and future workforce.
Despite the fact that child care workers earn low wages, most parents struggle to afford tuition and the COVID-19 pandemic has made matters worse for household financial stability, United Way of North Idaho officials said in a press release. To help alleviate some of this financial stress, UWNI has created scholarships — available for families in the five northern counties who are working or going to school and need assistance paying for care for pre-K and school-age children. Families may qualify even if they also receive Idaho Child Care Assistance.
Scholarships are awarded as a monthly supplement paid directly to a licensed care provider. Families may receive up to $1,500 total over a period of two to five months, based on need and funds available.
“One of United Way's impact goals is to ensure that all children have nurturing early experiences that prepare them for school and life,” Keri Cederquist, community impact director at United Way, said. “With these funds we’ll be able help families in all counties access quality child care, including school- age children. We know a lot of families are really struggling to make ends meet and make schedules work with COVID, especially if they can’t telecommute. We also know there are a lot of job vacancies that companies are struggling to fill, and people’s ability to work is directly related to their access to child care if they have young children.”
United Way of North Idaho has partnered with the city of Coeur d’Alene Community Development Block Grant program and CARES Act funding, and the Innovia Foundation to nearly triple the funds available in its child care scholarship program.
“The donors who have generously contributed to Innovia’s North Idaho COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund are very happy to see some of their funding directed toward child care scholarships,” says Amy Voeller with Innovia Foundation. “Local businesses have shared with us that child care is a significant barrier to families returning to work. These scholarships not only provide much-needed help for families in these challenging times, but also support our businesses.”
The scholarship program is part of broader efforts led by United Way to improve equitable access to early care and education, support child care businesses, and engage new partners in strengthening the child care sector.