The Iowa Legislature is considering a plan this year to help working families continue to work while going to school and still receive assistance for child care. The goal is to assist parents who need to gain new skills and land a job that pays better wages.
Currently, parents who meet certain income guidelines must work a minimum 28 hours per week or be in an approved education program a minimum of 28 hours per week to receive child care assistance (CCA).
A plan approved by the Senate expands the program in two major ways. First, the plan allows parents to work or go to school for a combined 28 hours per week to qualify for CCA. Secondly, the bill extends the eligibility period from six months to twelve months. Both provisions make it easier for a family to qualify for the needed program and extend the period of time without having to renew participation in the program.
While many legislators believe it should be expanded statewide, the House majority party wants to limit the change to just four counties under a pilot program, which would include Hamilton, Lee, Pottawattamie, and Scott counties.
The bill also requires the Department of Human Services, which administers the CCA program, to develop a mobile application program for individuals to use to apply for the CCA program.
The Senate proposal is a much broader plan that will better help working families to continue to work or go to school and not have to worry about paying for child care. The bill now goes back to the Senate for their consideration of the House proposal.
To find out more information about CCA, use the following link: http://www.dhs.state.ia.us/Consumers/Child_Care/CCAssistance/CCAforConsumers.html.