- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Seven members of the D.C. Council oppose the decision by the Department of Human Services to limit child care subsidies and want Mayor Anthony A. Williams to do the same.

The council members sent Mr. Williams a letter yesterday decrying the change to reduce the income requirement to receive child care subsidies. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp, at-large Democrat, and Vice Chairman Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. today to force the issue.

“As I said two years ago when we expanded eligibility for subsidized child care, it’s money well spent since it helps parents remain in the work force and provides their children with better preparation for school,” Mr. Evans said in the letter.

Human Services issued a rule change in the D.C. Register in August to limit eligibility for subsidized child care to “families under 200 percent of the poverty level.”

The proposal came as funds for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program were found to be insufficient to cover all families eligible in fiscal 2004.

Mr. Evans said the rule change will force out many families enrolled in the program who became eligible when it was expanded in 2001. Opponents of the measure, including Ed Lazere of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, insist that subsidized care is good for the city because it enables more low-income parents to remain in the work force.

“That’s why my colleagues and I are telling the mayor we want to work with him to find the funds to ensure we can continue this program,” Mr. Evans said.

The letter was signed by five other Democratic council members: Jim Graham, Ward 1; Adrian Fenty, Ward 4; Sharon Ambrose, Ward 6; Kevin Chavous, Ward 7, Sandy Allen, Ward 8, and Phil Mendelson, at-large.

The council members are looking to identify funding support from surplus or reserve funds, a federal assistance package, or elsewhere in order to keep the child care program operating at its current level.

“We started getting calls about this in August from child care providers and advocates,” Mr. Fenty said.

He said after a meeting with a private day care provider in his ward, the council had basically made up its mind to oppose the rule changes.

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