Whether to send children to child care, and which facility to send them to, are choices often fraught with concern. Compounding this, Missouri's oversight of child care facilities has been spotty in the recent past. But more information in the hands of parents and guardians can help.
About 12,300 fewer children attended federally subsidized day cares in Missouri during fiscal year 2013 than in 2012. That marks the largest decline in the country. But child service nonprofits say it’s unlikely the decline is due entirely to a reduction in need. Instead, it may be due to changes within the state agency that administers the funds.
State Auditor Tom Schweich (R) said the Early Childhood Development, Education and Care Fund provided more than $170,000 to three child care facilities that failed to open or expand their facilities as planned.
The Missouri House has approved a measure intended to block rating systems from being used at child care centers and preschools.
The child care measure passed Tuesday is tied to legislation that also would create a dedicated funding stream for state veterans' homes. Both items have been at the center of a legislative logjam that so far has prevented the state's $24 billion budget from passing.
Thousands of Missouri children could be dropped from state-subsidized child care under a budget plan embraced by a Senate committee.
The Senate Appropriations Committee has backed a cut of about $7 million in federal and state funds that help subsidize child care for low-income working parents. The committee also rejected a $5 million state funding increase that the Department of Social Services deems necessary to maintain the current level of child-care subsidies.