07/27/04 — Social Services board questions number of names on daycare waiting list

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Social Services board questions number of names on daycare waiting list

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on July 27, 2004 1:58 PM

Wayne County Social Services recently removed more than 200 families from the waiting list for subsidized child care after finding they no longer wanted or needed help.

The action caused some Social Services board members to wonder whether families were added to the list too easily.

Also Monday, the board elected its 2004-05 officers. Rich Yarbrough was chosen as chairman and Linda Jones as vice chairman.

Social Services mainly provides day-care assistance for parents and guardians who are either in school and job training or in low-paying jobs. They make monthly co-payments based on what they can afford.

The county spent more than $5.7 million last year to subsidize care for 1,550 to 1,700 children at any time. During the last year, the waiting list has been between 400 to 630 children.

In May, the department contacted 345 families who were on the waiting list and asked them to come in and renew their applications in June. Only 117 families reapplied, said income maintenance administrator Johnice Tabron.

As of July 12, the waiting list was 119 families with a total of 209 children.

Board member Andy Anderson suggested that some of those families should not have qualified originally. An over-inflated waiting list might discourage people who truly need the help, he said at Monday's board meeting. "It gives us the reputation that we're not providing services."

Social Services Director Judy Pelt said that families must pass a checklist of qualifications before they are added.

Circumstances change, however, Mrs. Pelt said. Families are required to report changes that might affect their eligibility within five days. The department does regular reviews of eligibility.

Parents or guardians may receive assistance if they are working or are attempting to find work; are in school or in a job-training program; their child is in protective services; their child needs care as part of child-welfare services or because the family is experiencing a crisis; or their child has developmental delays. They also have to meet income guidelines.

Ideally, people would improve their incomes enough that they would be able to go off county assistance, Mrs. Pelt said. "Unfortunately, people are not advancing in their jobs."

Board member J.D. Evans added, "It's a sign of the economic times we're in."