Missouri child care providers see subsidy rate increase of up to 58%

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An increase in child-care subsidy reimbursement rates to 58% of the market rate is being hailed as a significant win for providers in Missouri.

Sarah Gould, the early childhood director for Community Support Services of Missouri, primarily cares for children with special needs in Jasper County.

She mentioned that the rate increase, signed in June by Gov. Mike Parson, assists families in affording child care.

“There’s greater stability for them,” Gould stated. “They can allocate the resources they would have spent on child care to cover additional utility or food expenses, especially since we’ve seen a rise in these costs over the past few years.”

The American Rescue Plan stabilization funds and some emergency aid from Congress for early childhood education expired at the beginning of October. Now, Missouri child-care providers are in search of long-term solutions.

Missouri is often described as a state with numerous child-care deserts, and any reduction in subsidies can be burdensome.

Casey Hanson, the director of outreach and engagement for Kids Win Missouri, emphasized the importance of devising permanent solutions. “There’s a bit more relief money entering the system,” Hanson noted. “However, many of the opportunities providers relied on to keep their operations running in recent years are vanishing. That’s why our primary focus is ensuring the state makes more sustainable investments.”

Hanson also highlighted the significance of families and parents communicating with elected officials and leaders about the necessity for dependable, safe child care. Additionally, child-care providers must express the positive effects of rate hikes and how they benefit their organizations.