6/30/16: DHS Announces Subsidy Freeze to End July 31

Oklahoma City—The Oklahoma Department of Human Services has announced that the enrollment freeze for the Child Care Subsidy program will end July 31, 2016.  This means the assistance with child care can be approved for eligible families beginning August 1, 2016, in time for the start of the school year and for kids who are attending after-school child care programs. 

DHS had planned to lift the freeze Aug. 15, but with some school districts starting the new school year earlier in August DHS Director Ed Lake made the decision to open enrollment earlier.  The Child Care subsidy is funded through a combination of a federal Child Care Development grant and state-matching funds. 

“Child care assistance is one of the core services of DHS and it was so disheartening for us to have to freeze access to this critical program.  After the second revenue failure, we knew we would run out of funds before the end of the fiscal year June 30 if we didn’t limit the number of people accessing those services,” said Lake.  “Through natural attrition of recipients dropping out of the program in June and July and not filling those slots, we have accumulated enough savings to begin taking applications again and feel reasonably sure there will be enough funds to sustain the normal ebb and flow of the program throughout next year—barring any future or unforeseen reductions to DHS funding.”  

DHS will begin accepting new applications on July 1, but families should not expect for the assistance to begin until August 1. Due to a reduced workforce at DHS, the agency estimates it will take about a month to process and approve the expected flood of new applicants.   

To qualify for this assistance, applicants must be working or enrolled in school or training.  An initial interview and proof of employment or enrollment in school are required before eligibility can be established.  As in the past, applications can be made at any local county DHS office.  In addition, families who have received assistance from DHS before can apply online at .

Letters will be sent next week to all applicants who were denied due to the enrollment freeze informing them that they may reapply if subsidized child care is still needed.

6/28/16: Tulsa World Article about Subsidy Freeze

Great article by Ginnie Graham in the Tulsa World showcasing some personal stories of those affected by the child care subsidy freeze.

Click here for article

6/20/16: DHS Subsidy Freeze Impact

A news story shows the impact of the DHS subsidy freeze.  This story aired on the ONR on OETA-The Oklahoma Network.

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6/10/16: Tulsa World Pictorial of Top of the Town

Tulsa World captured some gorgeous pictures of our annual fundraiser, Top of the  Town on June 9, 2016.

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6/2/16: News on 6 Promotes Top of the Town

Thanks to KOTV – The News On 6 for promoting Top of the Town which is NEXT THURSDAY, JUNE 9th. One of our committee chairs, Heather Hope Hernandez talked with 6 in the Morning from the 12th floor patio of The Philtower Building.

Click here to watch the clip

5/29/16: Tulsa World Article on TOT

Great write up today in the Tulsa World about Top of the Town! Thanks so much for getting the word out! This is our 8th year and it just keeps getting better.  

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5/27/16: Statement from CCRC’s Director Regarding the Child Care Subsidy Freeze

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services has been forced to place a freeze on child care subsidy effective June 1, 2016. This means everyone that completes an application for child care subsidy will be denied until further notice if funds become available. Families that are currently receiving child care subsidy will not be affected unless their cases are closed for more than 30 days. At this time, I do not know how long this freeze will be in effect. Basically, what this means is no one will be approved to receive child care subsidy until further notice.
This decision will have a devastating effect on Oklahoma’s child care industry and in turn on Oklahoma’s children and families. Our children will suffer as families will be forced to choose unlicensed care that they can afford, OR choose to leave their children home alone, OR choose not to work at all because there is no one available to care for their children OR be unable to further education/training so they can be employed. Child care centers that rely on serving low-income children whose care is partially supported by child care subsidies will find it difficult to impossible to stay in business because families can’t afford to pay the full cost of licensed child care. Child care programs will close. Early childhood professionals will become unemployed. Families will not be able to find child care. Children will not have appropriate early learning opportunities and therefore, will not be ready for kindergarten. The cycle will just continue. Child care subsidy is a support that allows low income families to work, while providing necessary learning for young children. It is not a handout.
While it is easy to place blame, we all share in the responsibility for this decision. DHS made this decision as a last resort after reducing their own staff, eliminating supports to child care professionals, and reducing services that support families and child care providers because their budget as well as all the other state agencies have been drastically cut. If we voted for those who ran on the platform of less taxes and less government, we helped create this problem. This is what less government looks like. For months, we watched the legislators argue over things that are only important to a small number of Oklahomans while the decisions affecting all of Oklahoma’s children were being ignored.
Those of us that think it doesn’t matter to me because my children are grown so what do I care if the child care industry collapses, need to understand the full impact of this decision. These cuts will effect job performance of those who do have young children that are working next to us or providing services we rely on daily. This includes hospital staff, food service industry, education, and manufacturing just to name a few.
The members of the Oklahoma House and Senate have refused to make the unpopular decisions to put a hold on the tax cut that went into effect on January 1, 2016, or to accept Medicaid expansion, or to reduce or eliminate tax credits that are not providing outcomes to help the state of Oklahoma. As the Director of the Child Care Resource Center, I needed to speak up for our children, families and child care providers. Please consider contacting your legislators to let them know how these cuts will affect you.

5/2/16: Fox23 News Story on Child Care Violations

CCRC Director, Karen Smith was interviewed by Fox23 regarding the inspections and violations at child care centers.

Click here for the story

4/22/16: NEW USDA Meal Patterns Announced

**NEW** USDA Meal Patterns announced this morning at the National CACFP Conference keynote given by Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services.

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3/20/16: Licensing Standards Update

A survey was distributed to licensed child care providers telling them that the licensing standards that went into effect on January 1, 2016 were only temporarily approved. The goal of the survey is to get some data to then ask the legislators to deny final and permanent approval of these standards. The information contained in their email is INCORRECT.  The Licensing Requirements for Child Care Programs that affect center-based programs were promulgated according to the administrative rulemaking process and signed by the Governor.  They became effective January 1, 2016.  They are not TEMPORARY. Licensing Specialists and affected child care programs received training on the requirements.  The first monitoring visit that the licensing specialist makes to a program after January 1, 2016 is a discussion visit to assist the program with the new requirements and noncompliance with new requirements is not documented at that visit.