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$9.9M state grant will boost child care access in Steuben County

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Steuben County has secured a notable victory for local families in need of childcare, receiving a $9.9 million Child Care Block Grant from the New York State Office of Children & Family Services. Spanning from April 1, 2023, to September 30, 2024, this grant, endorsed by the county Legislature, ensures the allocation of an extra $2.5 million to be disbursed within the current year, with the remainder slated for anticipated expenses in 2024. The grant is a crucial lifeline, primarily when counties, including Steuben, had to introduce childcare waitlists following a decline in state funding last June.

The county’s Department of Social Services (DSS) will leverage these funds to finance vital childcare services, enabling more families to avail themselves of childcare facilities. The revised grant distribution also accommodates the upcoming expansion in income eligibility, allowing families with an income up to 85% of the state median income, equating to $99,250 for a family of four, to be eligible. This adjustment ensures 12 months of eligibility to all qualifying families.

County Manager Jack Wheeler emphasized the relentless efforts made by the county DSS and ProAction of Steuben and Yates, Inc., in securing the grant after it was initially omitted from the state budget. Applauding the diligence of DSS Commissioner Kathy Muller and Deputy Commissioner Lise Reynolds, he acknowledged the extensive advocacy that played a pivotal role in obtaining the funding for the service. For further details on eligibility and application submission, families can contact Pro Action Child Care Council or visit the respective mailing and email addresses mentioned.