House votes in favor of requiring DSS to warn before closing daycare subsidy enrollment

The House overwhelmingly passed a bill requiring that parents and childcare providers be given 30-days’ notice before enrollment closes or eligibility requirements change for the state’s daycare subsidies.

Childcare centers say they lose money when the program closes unexpectedly because they are not reimbursed for the children they have been caring for. Sudden program changes also make it difficult for parents to find care alternatives.

David Dearborn, spokesman for the Department of Social Services, said the bill could restrict the department’s ability to avoid spending more than is allocated for the Care 4 Kids subsidy.

The bill also requires DSS launch an outreach program, if their budget allows, to raise awareness for food assistance programs — including the federally-funded SNAP food stamp and school breakfast programs.

Proponents of the bill say the state is not using the full amount of federal money available and this will help increase participation.

The bill passed the House 137-7 and now heads to the Senate for final passage.