MORGANTOWN – Balancing work and parenting is tough enough for families, but childcare costs make it even more difficult.
For some parents, the choice between working and caring for a child is not easy. This followed by the costs of child care services like daycare make some options out of reach.
The Morgantown-based Child Care Resource Center is an organization funded by a partnership with the state government and Catholic Charities West Virginia that helps struggling families afford services like child care.
“We provide [parents] the opportunity to improve so they can better support their families, âsaid CPAB Director Brittany Lucci.
Normally, in what Lucci called ânon-COVID circumstances,â family support would be stuck behind an income requirement, meaning families earning too much would not be eligible. Now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these support opportunities are being extended without income barriers to parents who are essential workers.
COVID has touched almost every facet of social service and child care is no exception.
âSince March 2020â¦ we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of families requesting child care assistance,â said Kalie Perdue, CPAB Grants Supervisor. “We added about 3-400 more cases, mostly in Monongalia and Marion counties.”
In addition to Marion County, the resource center provides services to residents of Ohio, Marshall, Hancock, Brook, Wetzel, Tyler and Monongalia counties.
In June 2019, CPAB served 738 families, while in June 2021, the nonprofit served 1,082 families.
âIt has increased dramatically, but it has also spread the word to families [who] would not normally qualify, âsaid Lucci.
While providing subsidized child care is CPAB’s raison d’Ãªtre, the majority of Lucci and her staff’s work involves referrals to other organizations to educate families in need of the options available to others. programs.
“We can offer a list of childcare providers, we can offer assistance within the DHHR, housing assistance, we can refer them to pantries and assistance to public services, we are working with a plethora of agencies and offer all kinds of help, âPerdue mentioned. “I just want parents to know we exist.”
Although COVID has made it easier for families to qualify for CPAB benefits, the pandemic has hit child care centers and daycares hard. Toddlers and smaller babies cannot wear masks and cannot really disinfect themselves, which has caused many complications in the industry.
Child care is not a glamorous or profitable business endeavor. Many facilities are established out of love for children, and the additional requirements for disinfection and other COVID precautions have made life or caregivers difficult.
While CPAB is known to help parents connect with other programs, the organization is also involved in helping daycares themselves.
“Yes [a day care] has a child who tests positive for COVID, they should stop their entire program for as long as the health department tells them, âLucci said. âEven before COVID, it was difficult to keep staff on call. They are not well paid. Now, with COVID, they put themselves at risk every day. “
Over the summer, CPAB distributed cleaning and disinfection products to local child care providers to help alleviate some of the financial burden programs face.
If you would like to learn more about what CPAB offers or how to qualify for subsidized child care, visit the resource center website at www.ccrcwv.org or call the Fairmont office at 304-366-3018.