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Washington is to blame for day care cuts

June 27, 2012
The Inter-Mountain

No doubt the parents of about 1,425 West Virginia children who got bad news about day care are upset at state officials. It was the state Department of Health and Human Resources that announced cuts in the program that has helped those households, after all.

But don't blame Mountain State officials. They have done all they can - much more than most states, in fact - to help the low-income families involved.

More than 24,000 children have been served by the WVDHHR program during the past year. But the child care assistance came at a high cost, about $54 million. Some of that was provided through the federal government - in part through the $787 billion "stimulus" initiative.

But as critics of that program warned when it was established, every grant provided through it was of limited duration. False hopes were raised for millions of Americans, from construction workers looking for jobs to teachers whose states could not afford them, from the unemployed whose benefits were about to run out to, yes, parents who needed help with day care.

With "stimulus" and other special federal programs running out of money, local governments and states are having to suspend a variety of social assistance projects. West Virginia's day care help for low-income parents is just one of them.

Even with news limits on eligibility and higher co-payments for parents participating in the program, West Virginia's day care assistance remains better than many states offer. For example, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland already have stricter eligibility requirements, according to The Associated Press.

That is no consolation for the parents of the about 1,425 children who will be cut from the program, of course. But the fact remains West Virginia managed to stretch federal funding for it longer than was possible in many other states. Those upset about the change should direct their anger toward Washington, not Charleston.



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