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Child Care

For Release May 19, 2000

Contact: Beth Shine
803-779-2607 or bshine@thesoutherninstitute.org

Southern States To Develop Action Plan On Child Care Assistance For Low-Income Families

(Columbia, SC) Each of the governors of 16 southern states, as well as the Mayor of the District of Columbia, have appointed a representative to serve on the Southern Regional Task Force on Child Care. Additional members have been appointed by the Southern Institute on Children and Families and by the Southern Growth Policies Board. The Southern Institute on Children and Families established the Task Force in recognition of the critical role affordable child care plays in the employability of low-income parents and in the overall success of welfare reform efforts.

This blue-ribbon Task Force will provide leadership and direction to the Southern Regional Initiative on Child Care, a grant-funded project of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. The 23-member Task Force is charged with developing an Action Plan by December 2000 outlining specific steps that can improve access to child care assistance for low-income families. The Action Plan will be widely disseminated and promoted across the southern region during 2001. States included in this regional initiative are Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia. The Task Force will be assisted by a Staff Work Group comprised of people with expertise in child care public policy.

"In research conducted by the Southern Institute, 48 percent of welfare beneficiaries told us that the number one benefit they needed most in order to work full-time was child care," said Sarah Shuptrine, founder and President of the Southern Institute on Children and Families and Chairman of the Task Force. "The Southern Institute’s research found that many families who are eligible for child care assistance were unaware of available subsidies. It also identified wide variations in policies governing the child care application and redetermination processes. The Task Force will identify ways to make the eligibility process more user-friendly and responsive to working families."

At the Task Force’s inaugural meeting in Atlanta on April 26-27, the Southern Institute released Child Care in the Southern States: Expanding Access to Affordable Care for Low-Income Families and Fostering Economic Development by Louise Stoney, an expert consultant on child care issues. To obtain a copy of the paper, contact Kristine Hartvigsen at the Southern Institute on Children and Families, 803-779-2607.

"Child care is expensive. In all of the southern states, a young family with two wage-earners at minimum wage could easily spend a third of their gross pay on child care. And for single parents, the cost of child care can be crippling. In each of the 16 southern states, the annual cost of enrolling a 4-year-old in a full-time child care center is higher than public college tuition in that state." Ms. Stoney said.

"Too often, child care subsidies are limited to families on welfare," she added. "Public funds invested in child care can be an important economic development strategy - one that creates jobs, generates tax dollars and helps to grow the economy."

"A major impediment to welfare reform is insufficient state funding for child care. The competition among families leaving welfare and low-wage families who are not connected to the welfare system will become more intense as more families leave welfare for work," Ms. Shuptrine continued. "The time to develop strategies to help more low-income families with the high cost of child care is now, and the Southern Institute is grateful to the southern governors for their willingness to work together on this regional initiative."

 

 Southern Regional Task Force on Child Care
Alabama

Sophia Bracy Harris
Executive Director
Federation of Childcare
Centers of Alabama

Phone 334.262.3456
Fax 334.264.5659

Delaware

Lynne Howard
Senior Advisor on
Family Issues
Office of the Governor

Phone 302.577.3210
Fax 302.577.3118

Arkansas

Janie Fletcher
Director
Division of Child Care and
Early Childhood Education
Arkansas Department of Human Services

Phone 501.682.4891
Fax 501.682.2317

District of Columbia

Carrie Thornhill
Vice President
Youth Investment &
Community Outreach
DC Agenda

Phone 202.223.2598
Fax 202.223.2604

Florida

Pat Cronon
Executive Director
Hand 'N Hand Child Care Center

Phone 407.859.6635
Fax 407.855.9897

Georgia

Julie Sharpe
Public Will Consultant
Family Connection

Phone 912.388.8770
Fax 912.388.8292

Kentucky

Kim Townley, PhD
Executive Director
Governor's Office of Early
Childhood Development

Phone 502.564.2611
Fax 502.564.1984

Maryland

Linda Heisner
Executive Director
Child Care Administrator
Maryland Department of
Human Resources

Phone 410.767.7128
Fax 410.333.8699

Louisiana

Gwendolyn Hamilton
Executive Director
Children's Cabinet
Office of the Governor

Phone 225.342.1677
Fax 225.342.7099

Mississippi

Carol Burnett
Director of the Office of
Children and Youth
Mississippi Department of Human Services

Phone 601.359.4555
Fax 601.359.4422

Missouri

Gary J. Stangler
Director
Missouri Department of
Social Services

Phone 573.751.4815
Fax 573.751.3203

North Carolina

Stephanie D. Fanjul
Director
Division of Child Development
North Carolina Department of Human Resources

Phone 919.662.4543
Fax 919.662.4568

Oklahoma

Jerry Regier
Health & Human Services
Cabinet Secretary and
Executive Director
Office of Juvenile Affairs
Office of the Governor

Phone 405.530.2800
Fax 405.530.2893

Tennessee

Natasha K. Metcalf
Commissioner
Tennessee Department of
Human Services

Phone 615.313.4702
Fax 615.741.4165

South Carolina

Candy Y. Waites
Director
Division of Children's Services
Office of the Governor

Phone 803.734.0220
Fax 803.734.0589

Texas

Diane D. Rath
Chair
Texas Workforce Commission

Phone 512.463.2800
Fax 512.463.1289

Virginia

Invited to participate but declined to make an appointment.

West Virginia

Joan E. Ohl
Secretary
Department of Health and Human Resources

Phone 304.558.0684
Fax 304.558.1130

Southern Growth Policies Board Appointee

Tommy Deweese
Division Manager
for Arkansas
Southwestern Electric
Power Company

Phone 501.973.2401
Fax 501.973.2424

SICF Appointee

Andy Downs
Executive Vice President
Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

Phone 502.695.4700
Fax 502.695.6824

Southern Institute on Children and Families (SICF) Appointee

Rebeca Maria Barrera
President
National Latino Children's Institute

Phone 512.472.9971
Fax 512.472.5845

SICF Appointee

James T. McLawhorn Jr.
President and CEO
Columbia (SC) Urban League

Phone 803.799.8150
Fax 803.254.6052

SICF Appointee

Sandra L. Murman
Florida House of Representatives

Phone 850.488.9910
Fax 850.413.0423

SICF Appointee/Chairman

Sarah C. Shuptrine
President
Southern Institute on Children and Families

Phone 803.779.2607
Fax 803.254.6301

 

 Southern Regional Initiative on Child Care
Staff Work Group Members
Glenda Parker Bean
Executive Director
Southern Early Childhood Association

Phone 501.663.0353
Fax 501.663.2114

David Denton
Director
Health and Human Services Programs
Southern Regional Education Board

Phone 404.875.9211 x233
Fax 404.872.1477

Barbara Garrison
Children and Families Program Specialist
Child Care Unit
Administration for Children and Families

Phone 404.562.7888
Fax 404.562.7162

Luis A. Hernandez
Director
Head Start Quality Improvement Center
DHHS Region IV

Phone 305.444.4779
Fax 305.444.1365

Linda Hoke
Senior Program Manager
Southern Growth Policies Board

Phone 919.941.5145
Fax 919.941.5594

Barbara Ferguson Kamara
Executive Director
CSS/OECD
DC Department of Human Services

Phone 202.727.1839
Fax 202.727.8166

Desiree Reddick
Regional TA Specialist
NCCIC

Fax 404.288.2911

Susan D. Russell
Executive Director
North Carolina Child Care Services Association

Phone 919.967.3272
Fax 919.967.7683

Nancy VonBargen
Office of Child Care
Oklahoma Department of Human Services

Phone 405.522.1512
Fax 405.522.2564

Consultant
Gina C. Adams
Senior Researcher
Population Study Center
The Urban Institute

Phone 202.261.5674
Fax 202.452.1840