Last month the city of Fayetteville approved the use of $500,000 in American rescue funds to help moderate to low-income families afford childcare.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The childcare assistance program is for families who live, work, or go to school in Fayetteville.
Families will receive up to 12 monthly payments for childcare assistance which are made from the city to the childcare facilities in Fayetteville.
“Folks are finding a challenge with meeting the cost of childcare because it is so high,” said City of Fayetteville Community Resource Director and Equity Officer Yolanda Fields.
The city of Fayetteville approved ARPA funds on Dec. 6, and applications were available on Dec. 9, but now people are just waiting for approval and the money.
“I think we’re gonna get the actual payments pushed out the door… the first week of February is when we’ll start pushing out the money,” Fields said.
Fields said the process of getting approved takes between 2-4 weeks.
“It’s not as easy as ‘we get an application, and we approve it or deny it.’ no, because some of them aren’t truly complete… we’re going to work with folks, and we’re going to keep calling to complete the application,” Fields explained.
So far, the city has gotten 52 applications totaling $624,000 dollars.
“At this point based on the applications that we think will be approved, we’re maxed out. So we’re hoping that there will be additional funding. Mayor Jordan has said he’s fully committed to this program and that he will seek additional funding…and we hope that is the case because the need is there,” said Fields.
The owner of the ‘kiddie campus’ in Fayetteville says this is the first time the city provided assistance for child care. She says she has families waiting for approval before they can enroll their children.
“Especially with the essential caregiver vouchers that have been in place since COVID hit. Two years later those have now ended, so this is a high-demand time to start having other places assist and paying for childcare it is much needed,” Owner Robin Slaton said.
A recent survey says that 58% of working parents rely on childcare centers… using 10% of their household income. The price at the Kiddie campus is between $225 to $275 per week, per child depending on their age, but that’s not the case for other daycare centers in Northwest Arkansas.
“Washington county and Benton county are higher rates than what the rest of the state is and Benton county is even higher than us. It’ll be nothing for you to find rates over $300 a week per child.”
The city will start making payments to service providers in the second week of February.
To see if you can apply, visit the City of Fayetteville website.
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