Plan would change child care subsidy program

Plan would change child care subsidy program
Lillian Koller
Lillian Koller

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

Honolulu (Hawaii News Now) - Facing yet another funding crisis the state is changing the way it hands out money to low income families to pay for child care and not everyone may like the plan.

The Department of Human Services Director wants to implement a sliding scale based on income and in the process stop enabling poor people.

Director Lillian Koller says the more someone makes, the less money they get. She believes the changes won't affect the majority of families. The program gives parents money to pay for child care, whether at a licensed facility or even if it's a family member watching the kids.

Parents testified against any altering the program but the state says if the changes aren't made, the program will run out of money by February and people won't get anything.

"We had to ready, fire, aim, we had to. This is a crisis and we didn't want. Our goal was not to shut the program down. We didn't want to. We want to maintain it. So we redistribute the funds we have so the neediest families get the most." Lillian Koller, Department of Humans Services Director.

In the current system if a family made just one dollar over the limit they could lose up to $400 a month. The state says that made people purposely earn less income in order to get more state money.

Nearly 7,800 families get the subsidy and includes 14,500 children. A family of four making less than $56,000 qualifies.

DHS is holding an informational meeting Friday at the State Capitol for any concerned parents. It's at 11:30 a.m. in conference room 329.

DHS hopes to implement the changes January first. Governor Lingle still needs to approve the plan.